, Volume 241, Issue 6, pp 1313–1324 | Cite as

Physiological role of phenolic biostimulants isolated from brown seaweed Ecklonia maxima on plant growth and development

  • Adeyemi O. Aremu
  • Nqobile A. Masondo
  • Kannan R. R. Rengasamy
  • Stephen O. Amoo
  • Jiří Gruz
  • Ondřej Bíba
  • Michaela Šubrtová
  • Aleš Pěnčík
  • Ondřej Novák
  • Karel Doležal
  • Johannes Van Staden
Original Article


Main conclusion

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.


Asparagaceae Auxins Conservation Phaeophyceae Phytohormones Seaweeds 



Indole-3-acetic acid


Indole-3-acetyl-l-aspartic acid


Immunoaffinity chromatography


Multiple reaction monitoring


Murashige and Skoog (1962) medium


2-Oxindole-3-acetic acid




Plant growth regulator


Photosynthetic photon flux


Solid-phase extraction


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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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adeyemi O. Aremu
    • 1
  • Nqobile A. Masondo
    • 1
  • Kannan R. R. Rengasamy
    • 1
  • Stephen O. Amoo
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jiří Gruz
    • 2
  • Ondřej Bíba
    • 2
  • Michaela Šubrtová
    • 2
  • Aleš Pěnčík
    • 2
  • Ondřej Novák
    • 2
  • Karel Doležal
    • 2
  • Johannes Van Staden
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development, School of Life SciencesUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalScottsvilleSouth Africa
  2. 2.Laboratory of Growth Regulators & Department of Chemical Biology and Genetics, Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research, Faculty of SciencePalacký University and Institute of Experimental Botany AS CROlomoucCzech Republic
  3. 3.Vegetable and Ornamental Plant Institute, RoodeplaatAgricultural Research CouncilPretoriaSouth Africa

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