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Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(9), 1505; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8091505

Aqueous Garlic Extract as a Plant Biostimulant Enhances Physiology, Improves Crop Quality and Metabolite Abundance, and Primes the Defense Responses of Receiver Plants

1
College of Horticulture, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China
2
College of Natural Resources and Environment, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China
3
School of Agriculture and Biology, Key Laboratory of Urban Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture, Bor S. Luh Food Safety Research Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China
4
Department of Agriculture, Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, KPK 23200, Pakistan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 August 2018 / Revised: 24 August 2018 / Accepted: 26 August 2018 / Published: 1 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental and Sustainable Science and Technology)
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Abstract

Biostimulants are the next-generation choice for sustainable agricultural production and are gradually becoming an alternative to synthetic chemicals. Various botanicals are proposed to exert stimulatory effects, and garlic allelochemicals are among such botanicals; however, a peer-reviewed scientific evaluation is required to understand garlic-derived substances such as biostimulants. Current studies were therefore performed to identify the bioactivity of garlic extract as a biostimulant to improve crop quality, alter its physiological potential, and prime its defense responses against pathogenic fungal infections. 100 µg mL−1 aqueous garlic extracts (AGE) in consort with 1 mM of acetyl salicylic acid (ASA) and distilled water as a control treatment were applied to eggplant and pepper seedlings as foliar application and fertigation methods. The results revealed stimulatory responses in the growth of the vegetables with improved plant height, number of leaves, root growth, fresh and dry weight, etc., due to AGE and ASA applications. Moreover, significant alterations were indicated in plant metabolites such as chlorophyll, carotenoids, and soluble sugars. Additionally, stimulation of the antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase (POD), as well as the root activity of these plants, was observed after treatment. Application of AGE and ASA also exerted priming effects on pepper plants, inducing defense responses prior to Phytopthora capsici inoculation, and the treated plants therefore successfully resisted infection through activated antioxidant systems, and probably carotenoid and other protectory metabolites. Stress-induced H2O2 content was extremely low in the treated plants, indicating successful resistance against pathogenic infection. View Full-Text
Keywords: aqueous garlic extract; biostimulant; H2O2; defense priming; SOD; POD; carotenoids; Phytopthora capsici; disease resistance aqueous garlic extract; biostimulant; H2O2; defense priming; SOD; POD; carotenoids; Phytopthora capsici; disease resistance
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Hayat, S.; Ahmad, H.; Ali, M.; Hayat, K.; Khan, M.A.; Cheng, Z. Aqueous Garlic Extract as a Plant Biostimulant Enhances Physiology, Improves Crop Quality and Metabolite Abundance, and Primes the Defense Responses of Receiver Plants. Appl. Sci. 2018, 8, 1505.

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