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Effects of carboxymethyl chitosan on the growth and nutrient uptake in Prunus davidiana seedlings


To determine the effects of carboxymethyl chitosan on plant growth and nutrient uptake, Prunus davidiana seedlings were treated with various concentrations of carboxymethyl chitosan. The biomass, physiological characteristics, and nutrient uptake of the treated P. davidiana seedlings were then examined. Compared with the control seedlings, the carboxymethyl chitosan-treated seedlings had a higher biomass and a greater abundance of photosynthetic pigments (i.e., chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, total chlorophyll, and carotenoid), with the best concentration as 2 g/L carboxymethyl chitosan, which increased the shoot biomass and total chlorophyll content by 26.75% and 24.64%, respectively. Moreover, the application of carboxymethyl chitosan enhanced superoxide dismutase and catalase activities, increased the soluble protein content, and decreased the malondialdehyde and proline contents of the P. davidiana seedlings to some extent. Additionally, the carboxymethyl chitosan treatments decreased the total nitrogen content, but increased the total phosphorus and potassium contents in P. davidiana seedlings to some extent. The minimum of total nitrogen content and the maximum of total phosphorus and potassium contents in shoots of P. davidiana seedlings were the concentration of 2 g/L carboxymethyl chitosan, which was decreased by 12.96% and increased by 15.45% and 22.53%, respectively, compared with the control. Therefore, the application of a carboxymethyl chitosan solution may promote the growth, enhance the stress resistance, and alter the nutrient uptake of P. davidiana seedlings, especially at 2 g/L carboxymethyl chitosan.

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We thank Liwen Bianji, Edanz Editing China ( for editing the English text of a draft of this manuscript. This work was financially supported by the National Key Research and Development Plan of China (2018YFD0201400).

Author information




DDX and HYL performed the experiments, analysed the data, and drafted the manuscript. LJL planted and managed the materials in the field. MAL, QXD and JW inoculated the seedlings and helped with sampling. XLL, HHD, DL and HX conceived the study, participated in its design and coordination, and helped draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Lijin Lin.

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Xu, D., Li, H., Lin, L. et al. Effects of carboxymethyl chitosan on the growth and nutrient uptake in Prunus davidiana seedlings. Physiol Mol Biol Plants 26, 661–668 (2020).

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  • Carboxymethyl chitosan
  • Prunus davidiana
  • Growth
  • Nutrient uptake