Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 409–414 | Cite as

Bioassay to detect Ascophyllum nodosum extract-induced cytokinin-like activity in Arabidopsis thaliana

  • Wajahatullah Khan
  • David Hiltz
  • Alan T. Critchley
  • Balakrishnan PrithivirajEmail author


Ascophyllum nodosum, a brown macroalga, is the most widely used seaweed in agriculture. We report a rapid method for the detection of cytokinin-like activity in plants treated with a commercial A. nodosum liquid concentrate (Stimplex®) using a transgenic line of Arabidopsis carrying the ARR5 promoter fused to ß-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene. Based on GUS activity assay, an increase in cytokinin-like activity was detected in plants grown in vitro treated with 3 mL L−1 Stimplex®, whereas foliar spray treatments showed similar cytokinin-like activity at a concentration of 5 mL L−1. Histochemical staining showed Stimplex®-induced GUS activity in leaf as well as in the root tissues. Taken together, our results suggest that Stimplex® contains compounds that may elicit endogenous cytokinin-like activity. Furthermore, it is shown that this bioassay can be used for rapid screening of extracts that can stimulate cytokinin-like activities using Arabidopsis AAR5::GUS reporter transgenic plants.


Ascophyllum nodosum Cytokinin Elicitor Arabidopsis thaliana Plant growth regulator 



The research reported in this paper was supported by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and Acadian Seaplants Limited, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. WK would like to thank Research Centre, College of Science, King Saud University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wajahatullah Khan
    • 1
  • David Hiltz
    • 2
  • Alan T. Critchley
    • 2
  • Balakrishnan Prithiviraj
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry, College of ScienceKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Acadian Seaplants LimitedDartmouthCanada
  3. 3.Department of Environmental SciencesNova Scotia Agricultural CollegeTruroCanada

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