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Open AccessArticle

Effects of Soil Fertilization on Terpenoids and Other Carbon-Based Secondary Metabolites in Rosmarinus officinalis Plants: A Comparative Study

1
Department of Agrochemistry and Environment, Miguel Hernandez University, EPS-Orihuela, ctra. Beniel km 3.2, 03312 Orihuela, Spain
2
Institute of Biosciences and Bioresources, National Research Council, via Madonna del Piano 10, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Florence, Italy
3
Water Research Institute, National Research Council, Via Salaria km 29.300, 00015 Monterotondo, Rome, Italy
4
Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, Wageningen University and Research, P.O. Box 17, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
5
Research Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystems, National Research Council, Via Salaria km 29.300, 00015 Monterotondo, Rome, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Plants 2020, 9(7), 830; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9070830
Received: 30 May 2020 / Revised: 29 June 2020 / Accepted: 29 June 2020 / Published: 2 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biosynthesis and Functions of Terpenoids in Plants)
Rosmarinus officinalis is an evergreen aromatic plant with important commercial interest as it contains numerous essential oils (composed of terpenoid compounds) and phenolic constituents (natural antioxidant compounds). This work aims at evaluating the concomitant effects of different inorganic and organic fertilization treatments and the subsequent increases in soil nutrient availability on terpenoids and other carbon-based secondary metabolites, e.g., flavonoids and phenolic compounds, in Rosmarinus officinalis leaves. The results showed that, as expected, the structural carbohydrate content (lignocellulosic compounds) in stems was higher in fertilized plants than in controls. Additionally, positive correlations were observed of the absolute amounts of total terpenoids and some single terpenoid compounds with N or P contents in leaves. On the contrary, the phenolic and flavonoid concentrations in all the rosemary plant parts were lower with the fertilization treatments. Indeed, negative correlations between the phenolic compounds (and flavonoids) and N in rosemary leaves were also found. Overall, the results suggest that the terpenoid production’s response to fertilization was due to N, which is essential for protein synthesis and terpene synthase activity, and to P, which is necessary for the synthesis of both terpenoid precursors and ATP and NADPH, also needed for terpenoid synthesis. On the other hand, the basis for the fertilization’s effects on the production of phenolic compounds is the direct nitrogen trade-off between growth and the shikimic acid pathway by which phenolics compounds are synthesized. View Full-Text
Keywords: compost; monoterpenes; sesquiterpenes; leaf nitrogen; leaf phosphorus; phenolic compounds; flavonoids; structural carbohydrates compost; monoterpenes; sesquiterpenes; leaf nitrogen; leaf phosphorus; phenolic compounds; flavonoids; structural carbohydrates
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bustamante, M.Á.; Michelozzi, M.; Barra Caracciolo, A.; Grenni, P.; Verbokkem, J.; Geerdink, P.; Safi, C.; Nogues, I. Effects of Soil Fertilization on Terpenoids and Other Carbon-Based Secondary Metabolites in Rosmarinus officinalis Plants: A Comparative Study. Plants 2020, 9, 830.

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