Pacheco Bustos, Alex Gustavo: Allelochemical effects of aromatic species intercropped with coffee (Coffea arabica L.) in Puebla, Mexico. - Bonn, 2007. - Dissertation, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.
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author = {{Alex Gustavo Pacheco Bustos}},
title = {Allelochemical effects of aromatic species intercropped with coffee (Coffea arabica L.) in Puebla, Mexico},
school = {Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn},
year = 2007,
note = {Over 30 million coffee growers all over the world face starvation due to low international coffee prices. The impact is very acute in Latin America, which accounts nearly 65% of world coffee production. The current crisis seems to be shaped by changes in consumer preferences as well as low production phenomenon due to caffeine accumulation in coffee plantation soils as a result of decades of monoculture. To turn the present crisis around, a successful strategy for agricultural diversification is required. In response to the crisis, some coffee growers have begun to diversify their coffee plantations with intercalated cultivations of aromatic plants. Herbs are profitable crops and adaptable to the environmental conditions of coffee regions. Due to the complexity of the natural interaction under intercropped systems and the potential allelopathic effects between coffee and aromatic herbs, some questions need to be clarified before this alternative production system can be recommended to growers. Accumulation of caffeine in a soluble form in the soil is regarded as one reason for “low production” and degeneration by auto toxicity of coffee plantations. The use of aromatic species with the ability to take-up and accumulate caffeine may be a way to diminish the toxic levels of this alkaloid and increase coffee production. In this present study, the potential uptake of caffeine by spearmint (Mentha piperita L.), basil (Ocimum basilicum L.), sage (Salvia officinalis L.), and oregano (Origanum vulgare L.) and the allelopathic effects of these herbs on physiological parameters in coffee (Coffea arabica L.) were investigated. Two ecological conditions in rural area of Puebla State, Mexico (2004-2005), as well as laboratory bioassays in Bonn, Germany (2006) were evaluated, to validate the hypothesis that intercropping herbs in coffee production systems is a possibility to attenuate the coffee crisis while positively stimulating coffee plant growth and cup quality, diminishing caffeine content in the soil. To summarize the results: 1. Intercropping sage, spearmint, basil and oregano stimulate the plagiotropic growth of Coffea arabica plants most effectively in young production systems by still unknown mechanisms. 2. Volatiles from essential oils induce stomata opening in coffee leaves, which may have a positive influence on the CO2 fixation and increase of photosynthetic activity when no limiting factors are present. 3. Aromatic species, principally sage and oregano absorb caffeine and can contribute to a diminishing of the caffeine contamination of the soil. 4. Cup quality is improved with spearmint, basil and sage as intercrops, but mechanisms of action are unknown and further research remains to be done. 5. Finally coffee growers can stabilize their income situation and their social condition by offering aromatic plants to the local markets produced during the no-harvest period of coffee (April –November) in between coffee rows.},
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