Special Issue "Biostimulants in Plants Science"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Phytochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Andrea Ertani
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, DISAFA, Vegetable Crops and Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, VEGMAP, University of Turin, Grugliasco, Italy
Interests: biostimulants; plant physiology; horticulture; hydroponics; postharvest; secondary metabolism
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The demand for natural products has augmented in recent years due to the increase in intolerance shown against certain chemical compounds used in agriculture by humans. In response to this problem, innovative methods and novel matrices have been exploited to obtain products that are able to increase the efficiency of plant nutrient use. One approach to increasing crop productivity is the development of environment-friendly organic products named biostimulants which stimulate plant growth by enhancing the efficiency of chemical fertilizers. Plant biostimulants are substances and/or micro-organisms that can promote plant growth and yield and improve produce quality as well as resource use efficiency when applied to crops in low amounts. Biostimulants include humic substances, protein hydrolysates, seaweed, plant extracts, and beneficial microorganisms. These compounds have been shown to influence the metabolism, enhance the productivity, and increased the tolerance of plants to environmental adverse conditions. Conversely, the specific physiological mechanisms underlying plant-biostimulant interactions remain partially unknown. Consequently, scientific research needs to elucidate the mechanisms activated by biostimulants.

This Special Issue of Plants aims to present a collection of high quality relevant scientific papers to promote discussions and inform the scientific community of significant new information within this new field.

Dr. Andrea Ertani
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Plants is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • plant biostimulants
  • natural substances
  • protein hydrolysates
  • seaweed and plant extracts
  • humic substances
  • abiotic stresses
  • organic agriculture

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Biostimulant Treatments in Acmella oleracea Cultivation for Alkylamides Production
Plants 2020, 9(7), 818; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9070818 - 29 Jun 2020
Abstract
Acmella oleracea is a promising cosmetic, nutraceutical, and pharmaceutical ingredient, and plants with high levels of active compounds are needed in the market. Cultivation can be valuable if sufficient levels of alkylamides are present in plant material. In this regard the application of [...] Read more.
Acmella oleracea is a promising cosmetic, nutraceutical, and pharmaceutical ingredient, and plants with high levels of active compounds are needed in the market. Cultivation can be valuable if sufficient levels of alkylamides are present in plant material. In this regard the application of biostimulants can be an innovative approach to increase yield of cultivation or bioactive compound levels. A. oleracea plants were cultivated in Northern Italy in an experimental site using three different types of biostimulants, triacontanol-based mixture (Tria), an extract from plant tissues (LL017), and seaweed extract (Swe). Plants were grown in the field in two different growing seasons (2018 and 2019). After treatments inflorescences were harvested and the quali-quantitative analysis of alkylamides and polyphenols was performed. Treated and control plants were compared for yields, morphometric measurements, quali-quantitative composition in secondary metabolites. Overall results show that both triacontanol-based mixture and the LL017 positively influenced plant growth (Tria >+ 22%; LL017 >+ 25%) and flower production (Tria >+ 34%; LL017 >+ 56%). The amount of alkylamides and polyphenols in flowers were between 2.0–5.2% and 0.03–0.50%, respectively. Biostimulant treatments ensure higher cultivation yields and allow maintenance of the alkylamide and polyphenol levels based on % (w/w), thus offering an advantage in the final quantity of extractable chemicals. Furthermore, data revealed that samples harvested in late season show a decrease of polyphenols. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biostimulants in Plants Science)
Open AccessArticle
Foliar Application of an Amino Acid-Enriched Urea Fertilizer on ‘Greco’ Grapevines at Full Veraison Increases Berry Yeast-Assimilable Nitrogen Content
Plants 2020, 9(5), 619; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9050619 - 13 May 2020
Abstract
Reaching a sufficient yeast assimilable nitrogen (YAN) content in berries at harvest is considered a main viticultural goal for wine-making, because low YANs can slow down must fermentation and have negative effects on wine sensory attributes. For this reason, many attempts have been [...] Read more.
Reaching a sufficient yeast assimilable nitrogen (YAN) content in berries at harvest is considered a main viticultural goal for wine-making, because low YANs can slow down must fermentation and have negative effects on wine sensory attributes. For this reason, many attempts have been made to define correct fertilization strategies to stimulate YAN accumulation in the berries. Foliar application of amino acid-enriched urea fertilizer is considered a promising environmentally friendly strategy for improving the yield and nutrient efficiency of plants. The aim of this two-year research was to study the effects of two fertilizers based on urea enriched with amino acids applied at low doses in diverse phenological stages on berry YAN concentration in ‘Greco’ grapevines. The results of this study indicate that amino acid-enriched urea fertilizers induced an increase in YANs in the ‘Greco’ berries at harvest, but only when the application was undertaken at full veraison. Foliar applications applied at veraison onset or post-veraison appeared to be ineffective. In addition, the fertilizers enhanced YAN accumulation in the berry without modifying the other composition parameters measured in this study (total soluble solids, titratable acidity, pH and malic acid). Therefore, the results of our study suggest that foliar application of urea fertilizers enriched with amino acids is an effective strategy to increase yeast-assimilable nitrogen concentration in grapevine berries at harvest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biostimulants in Plants Science)
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Open AccessArticle
Activation of Early Defense Signals in Seedlings of Nicotiana benthamiana Treated with Chitin Nanoparticles
Plants 2020, 9(5), 607; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9050607 - 10 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Chitin is an excellent material for the synthesis of nanoparticles because it is an elicitor and can form nanostructured materials. The application of chitin nanoparticles (CNPs) in plants can activate early defense responses associated with chitin. In this study, CNPs were synthesized by [...] Read more.
Chitin is an excellent material for the synthesis of nanoparticles because it is an elicitor and can form nanostructured materials. The application of chitin nanoparticles (CNPs) in plants can activate early defense responses associated with chitin. In this study, CNPs were synthesized by water in oil (W/O) emulsion using an aqueous chitin solution. The CNPs were characterized and used to evaluate the activation of genes related to early responses to chitin and the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) on seedlings of Nicotiana benthamiana. The CNPs had an average size of 280 nm in diameter, a polydispersity of 0.299, a surface charge of 26.9 mV, and their chemical composition was corroborated by the disappearance of microaggregated CNPs treated with chitinases observed under a microscope. Seedlings treated with CNPs for one hour revealed increments in the expression of genes STZ, ATL2, and MAPK3, in contrast when they were treated with chitin oligomers, and no changes in gene CERK1 was detected in both conditions. Finally, the synthesis of ROS mediated by CNPs was detected in seedlings, which was higher than those generated by the treatment of chitin oligomers. These results demonstrated the capability to generate CNPs by emulsion, which are capable of triggering responses related to early defense in N. benthamiana more efficiently than chitin oligomers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biostimulants in Plants Science)
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Open AccessArticle
Phenylalanine and Tyrosine as Exogenous Precursors of Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Secondary Metabolism through PAL-Associated Pathways
Plants 2020, 9(4), 476; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9040476 - 09 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Reacting to environmental exposure, most higher plants activate secondary metabolic pathways, such as the metabolism of phenylpropanoids. This pathway results in the formation of lignin, one of the most important polymers of the plant cell, as well as a wide range of phenolic [...] Read more.
Reacting to environmental exposure, most higher plants activate secondary metabolic pathways, such as the metabolism of phenylpropanoids. This pathway results in the formation of lignin, one of the most important polymers of the plant cell, as well as a wide range of phenolic secondary metabolites. Aromatic amino acids, such as phenylalanine and tyrosine, largely stimulate this process, determining two ways of lignification in plant tissues, varying in their efficiency. The current study analyzed the effect of phenylalanine and tyrosine, involved in plant metabolism through the phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) pathway, on the synthesis and accumulation of phenolic compounds, as well as lignin by means of the expression of a number of genes responsible for its biosynthesis, based on the example of common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biostimulants in Plants Science)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
The Role of Microbial Inoculants on Plant Protection, Growth Stimulation, and Crop Productivity of the Olive Tree (Olea europea L.)
Plants 2020, 9(6), 743; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9060743 - 12 Jun 2020
Abstract
The olive tree (Olea europaea L.) is an emblematic, long-living fruit tree species of profound economic and environmental importance. This study is a literature review of articles published during the last 10 years about the role of beneficial microbes [Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi [...] Read more.
The olive tree (Olea europaea L.) is an emblematic, long-living fruit tree species of profound economic and environmental importance. This study is a literature review of articles published during the last 10 years about the role of beneficial microbes [Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF), Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR), Plant Growth Promoting Fungi (PGPF), and Endophytes] on olive tree plant growth and productivity, pathogen control, and alleviation from abiotic stress. The majority of the studies examined the AMF effect using mostly Rhizophagus irregularis and Glomus mosseae species. These AMF species stimulate the root growth improving the resistance of olive plants to environmental and transplantation stresses. Among the PGPR, the nitrogen-fixing bacteria Azospirillum sp. and potassium- and phosphorous-solubilizing Bacillus sp. species were studied extensively. These PGPR species were combined with proper cultural practices and improved considerably olive plant’s growth. The endophytic bacterial species Pseudomonas fluorescens and Bacillus sp., as well as the fungal species Trichoderma sp. were identified as the most effective biocontrol agents against olive tree diseases (e.g., Verticillium wilt, root rot, and anthracnose). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biostimulants in Plants Science)
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Open AccessReview
Potential of Karrikins as Novel Plant Growth Regulators in Agriculture
Plants 2020, 9(1), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9010043 - 26 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Karrikins (KARs) have been identified as molecules derived from plant material smoke, which have the capacity to enhance seed germination for a wide range of plant species. However, KARs were observed to not only impact seed germination but also observed to influence several [...] Read more.
Karrikins (KARs) have been identified as molecules derived from plant material smoke, which have the capacity to enhance seed germination for a wide range of plant species. However, KARs were observed to not only impact seed germination but also observed to influence several biological processes. The plants defected in the KARs signaling pathway were observed to grow differently with several morphological changes. The observation of KARs as a growth regulator in plants leads to the search for an endogenous KAR-like molecule. Due to its simple genomic structure, Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana L.) helps to understand the signaling mechanism of KARs and phenotypic responses caused by them. However, different species have a different phenotypic response to KARs treatment. Therefore, in the current work, updated information about the KARs effect is presented. Results of research on agricultural and horticultural crops are summarized and compared with the findings of Arabidopsis studies. In this article, we suggested that KARs may be more important in coping with modern problems than one could imagine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biostimulants in Plants Science)
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