New analytical developments in post-genomic technologies are being introduced to the field of plant ecology. FT–IR fingerprinting coupled with chemometrics via cluster analysis is proposed as a tool for correlating global metabolic changes with abiotic or biotic perturbation and/or interactions. The current study concentrates on detecting chemical responses by inter-species competition between a monocotyledon Brachypodium distachyion and a dicotyledon Arabidopsis thaliana. Growth analysis of 42 days old plants showed differences in both species under competition. Clear changes in the FT–IR metabolic fingerprints of B. distachyion in competition with A. thaliana were observed, whilst there were no apparent chemical differences in the A. thaliana plant tissues. This study demonstrates the power of this approach in detecting changes in the global metabolic profiles of plants in response to biotic interactions, and we believe FT–IR is appropriate for rapid screening (10 s per sample) prior to targeted metabolite analyses.