Physiological role of phenolic biostimulants isolated from brown seaweed Ecklonia maxima on plant growth and development
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Eckol, a major phenolic compound isolated from brown seaweed significantly enhanced the bulb size and bioactive compounds in greenhouse-grown Eucomis autumnalis.
We investigated the effect of eckol and phloroglucinol (PG) (phenolic compounds) isolated from the brown seaweed, Ecklonia maxima (Osbeck) Papenfuss on the growth, phytochemical and auxin content in Eucomis autumnalis (Mill.) Chitt. The model plant is a popular medicinal species with increasing conservation concern. Eckol and PG were tested at 10−5, 10−6 and 10−7 M using soil drench applications. After 4 months, growth parameters, phytochemical and auxin content were recorded. When compared to the control, eckol (10−6 M) significantly improved bulb size, fresh weight and root production while the application of PG (10−6 M) significantly increased the bulb numbers. However, both compounds had no significant stimulatory effect on aerial organs. Bioactive phytochemicals such as p-hydroxybenzoic and ferulic acids were significantly increased in eckol (10−5 M) and PG (10−6 M) treatments, compared to the control. Aerial (1,357 pmol/g DW) and underground (1,474 pmol/g DW) parts of eckol-treated (10−5 M) plants yielded the highest concentration of indole-3-acetic acid. Overall, eckol and PG elicited a significant influence on the growth and physiological response in E. autumnalis. Considering the medicinal importance of E. autumnalis and the increasing strains on its wild populations, these compounds are potential tools to enhance their cultivation and growth.
KeywordsAsparagaceae Auxins Conservation Phaeophyceae Phytohormones Seaweeds
Multiple reaction monitoring
Murashige and Skoog (1962) medium
Plant growth regulator
Photosynthetic photon flux
Ultra high performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry
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 (the Program “Návrat” for Research, Development, and Innovations, No. LK21306), National Program for Sustainability (Grant LO1204) and the Czech Science Foundation (Grant 14-34792S). 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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