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Re: alleopathy

Well, I really haven't studied up on this topic much but I just look at the
idea that most forms of algae have been established on the earth for a long
time before higher order plants evolved. Many of these algal types depend
on their ability to attach to an inanimate object in order to prosper.
Since higher order plants did evolve, they must have developed some way of
preventing algae from attaching to their surfaces and thereby suffocating
them or causing them harm in some other way.

Because plants are relatively inanimate and most can not remove or prevent
algae from attaching to their surfaces by any physical means, they must
possess some other method to achieve this. So I believe that healthy plants
are able to produce chemicals that prevent algae from attaching to their
surfaces and indeed, allelochemicals do exist. Further, I suspect these
chemicals are either produced at or transported to the plant's surface
tissues; the part of the plant most likely to be subjected to algal
colonization. Because these chemicals require energy to produce they are
manufactured by the plant only in sufficient quantities to get the job
done. These quantities may seem very insignificant by our tests. Maybe they
are only produced when the plant senses the need for them and otherwise
they are not produced. I suspect that these conservatively produced
alellochemicals would be a waste if allowed to transfer into the water
where they would be washed away just as other plant byproducts are. It
would seem to be more efficient for the plant if these chemicals were to
remain at the interface site between the algae and the plant; i.e.-
contained within the leaf or stem surface tissues. Just because we, as
humans, are not able to measure, quantify, or qualify them very effectively
by our standards does not mean that they are not an important defense
system for a plant.

I should note that it has been many years since I cracked a botany book so
these are just my speculations. If others on this list feel the need to
counter these ideas then so be it. 

--- Eric