After several years of research in collaboration with Queen’s University of Belfast (United Kingdom) to analyze the performance and mode of action of different kinds of biostimulants, the first paper has been published.
The article, titled "Biostimulants enhance growth and drought tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana and exhibit chemical priming action,” is the result of the study by researchers Thomas R. Fleming, Colin C. Fleming and Fuquan Liu.
Origin of the research
In recent years, there has been an exponential growth in the interest for biostimulants. The agricultural world has been attracted by their ability to increase the quality and yield of crops. As a result, the industry has taken advantage of this potential and increased the number of products available on the market.
Despite the momentum of biostimulants in the field and industry, the scientific community’s recognition has not come hand in hand. Currently, there are numerous studies that demonstrate the benefits of biostimulants. However, the scientific information to help understand how biostimulants achieve an improvement in quality, performance and abiotic stress tolerance is not sufficient.
The objective of this study is to scientifically demonstrate biostimulants’ mode of action. The analysis is focused on the effect that the application of these components has on treated plants at three levels: phenotypic, metabolic and transcriptomic, with the aim of ultimately achieving global synergy between the different results.
The research’s main characteristics
In this study, Queen's University of Belfast used Arabidopsis thaliana as the model plant to study the effectiveness of different biostimulants under drought as well as evaluate the effectiveness of each product at a preventive or curative level. Within the framework of this study, three products were analyzed:
- A biostimulant derived from amino acids (Delfan Plus)
- A cold seaweed extract, Ascophyllum nodosum (Phylgreen)
- A potassium phosphite (Trafos K)
Through progressive drought, the research measured:
- Changes in the plant’s growth and development,
- The biochemical alterations that resulted from this
- The type and intensity of response at the genetic level as a reaction to stress.
The research demonstrated the most effective dosages and application times for each product to optimally mitigate abiotic stress caused by drought. In addition, the metabolomic and transcriptomic analysis provided evidence of the existence of a priming effect when plants were treated with biostimulants, before exposure to drought. The role of Phylgreen, a fresh Ascophyllum nodosum extract, was especially noteworthy in this priming effect.