Regulation of growth, nutritive, phytochemical and antioxidant potential of cultivated Drimiopsis maculata in response to biostimulant (vermicompost leachate, VCL) application

Abstract

The effect of vermicompost leachate (VCL, low-cost biostimulant) on the growth, elemental (macro and micro-nutrients) and phytochemical content as well as the antioxidant potential of Drimiopsis maculata was evaluated. Three dilutions (1:5; 1:10 and 1:20) of VCL were tested and the cultivation lasted for 3 months. In addition to the recorded growth parameters, dried and ground plant materials (leaves and bulbs) were evaluated for nutrients, phenolic acids and antioxidant capacity. Vermicompost leachate application enhanced the growth of D. maculata, particularly, the leaves (VCL 1:10) and bulbs (VCL 1:20) which were significantly bigger than the controls. Apart from the concentration of phosphorus which was significantly lower in the leaves of VCL (1:20)-treated plants, the quantity of all four macro-nutrients analysed were similar with and without VCL. Similar observations were also demonstrated in the majority of quantified micro-nutrients in D. maculata. Relative to the control, VCL-treated plants had higher concentrations of the 10 phenolic acids quantified in the leaves. However, the majority of the quantified phenolic acids were not significantly enhanced in bulbs. Antioxidant activity of D. maculata extracts was generally higher in leaves than in the bulbs. The leaf extract from VCL (1:10 and 1:20)-treated plants exhibited lower oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) when compared to the control. However, bulbs from VCL (1:5) treatment had significantly higher ORAC than the control. From a conservational perspective, the current findings provided insight on viable approaches useful for mitigating challenges associated with over-harvesting of highly utilized but slow-growing plant species.

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Abbreviations

AAPH:

2,2-Azobis(2-methylpropionamidine) dihydrochloride

CRD:

Completely randomised design

DW:

Dry weight

ICP-MS:

Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry

ORAC:

Oxygen radical absorbance capacity

ORS:

Octapole reaction system

TE:

Trolox equivalents

UHPLC:

Ultra-high performance liquid chromatography

VCL:

Vermicompost leachate

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Acknowledgements

This work was financially supported by Mangosuthu University of Technology under registered project NSci\05\2012 (LD, KKN, GDA), National Research Foundation (Incentive Funding for Rated Researchers, UID: 109508) and Faculty Research Committee, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, North-West University, Mmabatho, South Africa (AOA). MJ, JG, PT and KD were supported by grant No. LO1204 (Sustainable development of research in Centre of Region Haná) from the National Program of Sustainability I, MEYS, Czech Republic. JG was also supported by the Czech Science Foundation (No. 17-06613S). KD was also supported by MEYS of CR from European Regional Development Fund-Project Centre for Experimental Plant Biology: No. CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/16_019/0000738. We thank the staff and management of Silverglen Nature Reserve for supplying the bulbs used for the study.

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Contributions

LD, KKN, GDA and AOA conceived and conducted the field experiment. MJ and JG quantified the phenolic acids and ORAC assay. MJ and PT conducted the elemental analysis. LD, KKN, GDA and AOA analysed the data on growth parameters. KD was also involved in conceptualization, design and provided technical and editorial inputs. AOA wrote the manuscript with help from all the other authors.

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Correspondence to Adeyemi O. Aremu.

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Dube, L., Naidoo, K.K., Arthur, G.D. et al. Regulation of growth, nutritive, phytochemical and antioxidant potential of cultivated Drimiopsis maculata in response to biostimulant (vermicompost leachate, VCL) application. Plant Growth Regul 86, 433–444 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10725-018-0441-1

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Keywords

  • Asparagaceae
  • Conservation
  • Geophytes
  • Phenolic acids
  • Plant nutrients
  • Medicinal plants