One of the visible trends in the cultivation of plants, particularly of medicinal ones, is the increasing interest of researchers in polysaccharides and their derivatives that show biostimulatory properties and are also safe to use. In the current study, we evaluated the effects of gellan gum and its depolymerized form oligo-gellan, on growth and antimicrobial activity of two ornamental species Eucomis bicolor
and Eucomis comosa
used in natural medicine. The biopolymers were applied in the form of bulb coating prepared by using polyelectrolyte complexes. In both species investigated, gellan gum and oligo-gellan enhanced the fresh weight of leaves and bulbs, the performance of the photosynthetic apparatus, and the leaf content of basic macronutrients. In comparison with the control, the plants treated with oligo-gellan accumulated more biomass, were first to flower, and had the highest leaf content of potassium. The extracts from the bulbs treated with gellan gum and oligo-gellan showed higher effectiveness in reducing the count of Bacillus atrophaeus
, Escherichia coli
, and Staphylococcus aureus
than those from the bulbs not treated with the polysaccharides. The research described here largely expands our current knowledge on the effects of gellan gum derivatives and has a huge practical potential in agriculture production.
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