Seaweed-Derived Biostimulant (Kelpak®) Influences Endogenous Cytokinins and Bioactive Compounds in Hydroponically Grown Eucomis autumnalis
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The effect of a seaweed-derived biostimulant (Kelpak® at 1, 2.5 and 5 % dilution; v/v) on the growth, endogenous cytokinin (CK) and phytochemical content in Eucomis autumnalis (Mill.) Chitt. under hydroponic conditions was evaluated. After 4 months, the stimulatory effect of Kelpak® treatments was more noticeable in the underground organs than in the aerial organs. Total endogenous CK was also higher in plants treated with Kelpak® (c.a. 1000–1200 pmol g−1 DW) compared to control plants (860 pmol g−1 DW). Isoprenoid CKs (which mainly accumulated in the aerial organs) were more dominant than aromatic-type CKs across all the treatments. A total of 11 bioactive chemicals (8 phenolic acids and 3 flavonoids) and eucomic acid known for their diverse biological activities were quantified in the samples. The most abundant compound was p-coumaric acid (6.5 µg g−1 DW) and it was approximately sevenfold higher in 2.5 % Kelpak®-treated plants than in the control. It was also noteworthy that syringic acid only occurred in the underground organs of 5 % Kelpak®-treated plants. Eucomic acid which is a major bioactive compound in E. autumnalis was significantly enhanced in Kelpak® treatments, and the leaves accounted for more than 70 % of the overall content. Thus, Kelpak® elicited a significant influence on the growth, endogenous CK and phytochemical content in E. autumnalis. These findings provide additional evidence of the enormous potential of Kelpak® as a useful biostimulant with practical applications in various agricultural endeavours.
KeywordsAsparagaceae Conservation Medicinal plants Phenolics Phytohormones UHPLC
The Claude Leon Foundation, University of KwaZulu-Natal and National Research Foundation, South Africa are thanked for financial support. This work was also financed by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Czech Republic (Grant LO1204 from the National Program of Sustainability, Operational Program Education for Competitiveness—European Social Fund (Project CZ.1.07/2.3.00/20.0165) and the Program “Návrat” for Research, Development, and Innovations, no. LK21306) as well as by the Internal Grant Agency of Palacký University (IGA_PrF_2015_024). We thank Mrs Alison Young (UKZN Botanical Garden, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa) and her Staff for their assistance in maintaining the greenhouse facilities.
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