Biostimulants as Regulators of Carbon and Nitrogen Metabolism in Plants

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Physiology and Metabolism".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2022) | Viewed by 14183

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Enviromental Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technologies University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli” Via Vivaldi 43, 81100 Caserta, Italy
Interests: role of compatible osmolytes in stress responses; plant metabolic profiling; regulation of carbon and nitrogen metabolism; effects of biostimulants on plant metabolism
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plant biostimulants (PBs) represent the most promising and eco-friendly approach to transition from resource-intensive farming systems to a sustainable agricultural intensification. PBs are natural products that have been classified neither as fertilizers nor as pesticides, and they include bioactive substances; formulations of compounds or microorganisms, such as algal extracts, protein hydrolysates, and humic and fulvic acids; chitosans and silicon; as well as plant-growth‐promoting microorganisms and mycorrhizal fungi. At low doses, they can enhance nutrient uptake and use efficiency, stimulating plant growth, vigour, yield, and quality even under abiotic stresses. PBs can elicit different biochemical, physiological, and molecular mechanisms to enhance plant performance and tolerance to stresses, particularly by tightly coordinating carbon and nitrogen metabolism and by inducing the synthesis and accumulation of primary and secondary protective/bioactive molecules with osmotic, antioxidant, or hormone-like activity. The homeostasis of carbon and nitrogen metabolism allows plants to adapt to fluctuating environmental conditions and enhance their performance. However, it is still not clear how PBs regulate the intracellular carbon and nitrogen status, control the sugar and amino acid biosyntheses, and integrate the existing carbon and nitrogen sensing and signalling crosstalk.

This Special Issue of Plants aims to present a collection of high-quality, relevant scientific papers to integrate the current knowledge on the physiological mechanims involved in the PBs’ modulation of carbon and nitrogen metabolism and unravel the common metabolic pathways involved in this response. Therefore, original research, technology reports, method opinion and perspective articles, reviews, and mini reviews dealing with the positive effects of PBs exerted on crop and horticultural plants by modulating carbon and nitrogen metabolism at physiological, biochemical, and molecular levels are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Petronia Carillo
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Plant-derived biostimulants
  • protein hydrolysates
  • seaweed extracts
  • microalgal exracts
  • humic acids
  • microbial biostimulants
  • agronomical and horticultural crops
  • regulation of carbon and nitrogen metabolism
  • nitrogen use efficiency
  • plant metabolic profiling
  • carbohydrates
  • amino acids
  • oxidative and reductive carbon metabolism
  • nitrogen metabolism enzymes
  • abiotic stresses
  • compatible compounds

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 2197 KiB  
Article
Morpho-Anatomical, Physiological, and Mineral Composition Responses Induced by a Vegetal-Based Biostimulant at Three Rates of Foliar Application in Greenhouse Lettuce
by Petronia Carillo, Veronica De Micco, Michele Ciriello, Luigi Formisano, Christophe El-Nakhel, Maria Giordano, Giuseppe Colla and Youssef Rouphael
Plants 2022, 11(15), 2030; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11152030 - 04 Aug 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1858
Abstract
A promising strategy for sustainably increasing the quality and yield of horticultural products is the use of natural plant biostimulants. In this work, through a greenhouse experiment, we evaluated the effect of a legume-derived biostimulant at three dose treatments (0.0 control, 2.5 mL [...] Read more.
A promising strategy for sustainably increasing the quality and yield of horticultural products is the use of natural plant biostimulants. In this work, through a greenhouse experiment, we evaluated the effect of a legume-derived biostimulant at three dose treatments (0.0 control, 2.5 mL L−1, and 5.0 mL L−1) on the yield performance, nutrients traits, leaf anatomical traits, gas exchanges, and carbon photosynthetic assimilation of greenhouse lettuce. The lettuce plants were foliar sprayed every 7 days for 5 weeks. The application of plant biostimulant, at both lower and higher dosages, increased the nutrient use efficiency, root dry weight, and leaf area. However, it is noteworthy that the 5.0 mL L−1 dose enhanced photosynthetic activity in the early phase of growth (15 DAT), thus supplying carbon skeletons useful for increasing the number of leaves and their efficiency (higher SPAD), and for boosting nutrient uptake (P, S, and K) and transport to leaves, while the 2.5 mL L−1 dose exerted specific effects on roots, increasing their dimension and enabling them to better use nitrate and Ca. A higher dose of biostimulant application might find its way in shorter growing cycle, thus presenting new horizons for new lines of research in baby leaves production. Full article
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21 pages, 1457 KiB  
Article
The Response to Inoculation with PGPR Plus Orange Peel Amendment on Soybean Is Cultivar and Environment Dependent
by Maria Letícia Pacheco da Silva, Francesco S. Moen, Mark R. Liles, Yuchen Feng and Alvaro Sanz-Saez
Plants 2022, 11(9), 1138; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11091138 - 22 Apr 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2138
Abstract
Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) effects on plant yield are highly variable under field conditions due to competition with soil microbiota. Previous research determined that many Bacillus velezensis PGPR strains can use pectin as a sole carbon source and that seed inoculation with PGPR [...] Read more.
Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) effects on plant yield are highly variable under field conditions due to competition with soil microbiota. Previous research determined that many Bacillus velezensis PGPR strains can use pectin as a sole carbon source and that seed inoculation with PGPR plus pectin-rich orange peel (OP) can enhance PGPR-mediated increases in plant growth. Because the previous studies used a single soybean cultivar, the objective of this research was to test the effect of PGPR plus OP inoculation on plant responses in a wide range of soybean cultivars. Preliminary screening with 20 soybean cultivars in the greenhouse showed that the PGPR plus OP produced a positive increase in all plant growth parameters when all cultivar data was averaged. However, when the inoculation response was examined cultivar by cultivar there was a range of cultivar response from a 60% increase in growth parameters to a 12% decrease, pointing to the presence of a cultivar-PGPR specificity. Further greenhouse and field experiments that studied cultivars with contrast responses to synbiotic inoculation revealed that the environment and/or the molecular interactions between the plant and microorganisms may play an important role in plant responsiveness. Full article
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12 pages, 1072 KiB  
Article
The Complex Metabolomics Crosstalk Triggered by Four Molecular Elicitors in Tomato
by Giusy Iula, Begoña Miras-Moreno, Youssef Rouphael, Luigi Lucini and Marco Trevisan
Plants 2022, 11(5), 678; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11050678 - 01 Mar 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2368
Abstract
The elicitation of plant secondary metabolism may offer interesting opportunities in the framework of sustainable approaches in plant science and in terms of their ability to prime resistance to biotic and abiotic stressors. The broad metabolic reprogramming triggered by different molecular elicitors, namely [...] Read more.
The elicitation of plant secondary metabolism may offer interesting opportunities in the framework of sustainable approaches in plant science and in terms of their ability to prime resistance to biotic and abiotic stressors. The broad metabolic reprogramming triggered by different molecular elicitors, namely salicylate (SA), polyamines (PAs), and chitosan, was comprehensively investigated using a metabolomics approach and the tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) as the model crop. Six different treatments were compared: a negative control (no treatments), a second negative control treated with 1 M acetic acid (the reference for chitosan, since chitosan was solubilized in acetic acid), and four molecular elicitors, 1 mM 2,1,3-benzothiadiazole (BTH, a positive control), 10 mg/mL chitosan, 0.01 mM SA, and a 0.1 mM PA (putrescine, spermidine, and spermine). All treatments determined a slight increase in biomass, in particular following PA treatment. A broad reprogramming of secondary metabolism could be observed, including membrane lipid remodeling, phenylpropanoid antioxidants, and phytohormone crosstalk. Overall, our results suggest that PAs, SA, and BTH shared a systemic acquired resistance (SAR)-related response, whereas chitosan induced a more distinct induced systemic resistance (ISR)-like jasmonate-related response. These results pave the way towards the possible use of elicitors as a sustainable tool in plant science and agriculture by increasing crop resilience to biotic and abiotic stressors without detrimental effects on plant biomass. Full article
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16 pages, 1946 KiB  
Article
Potential Role of Foliar Application of Azotobacter on Growth, Nutritional Value and Quality of Lettuce under Different Nitrogen Levels
by Zahra Razmjooei, Mohammad Etemadi, Saeid Eshghi, Asghar Ramezanian, Faezeh Mirazimi Abarghuei and Javad Alizargar
Plants 2022, 11(3), 406; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11030406 - 01 Feb 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3532
Abstract
Vegetables can be treated with biofertilizers as an alternative to chemical fertilizers because of their low toxicity. We investigated the effects of foliar spraying of Azotobacter under different levels of nitrogen (100, 150 and 200 mg/L in nutrient solution) on the growth, nutritional [...] Read more.
Vegetables can be treated with biofertilizers as an alternative to chemical fertilizers because of their low toxicity. We investigated the effects of foliar spraying of Azotobacter under different levels of nitrogen (100, 150 and 200 mg/L in nutrient solution) on the growth, nutritional value, nitrate accumulation and antioxidant enzyme activities of hydroponically grown lettuce. The experiment was laid out in a completely randomized design with four replicates in a factorial combination. Plants treated with Azotobacter and 200 mg/L nitrogen had greater leaf area and photosynthetic pigments than plants treated with 200 mg/L nitrogen without spraying with Azotobacter. Increasing nitrogen levels increased leaf number, fresh and dry weights, leaf area and nitrate accumulation in lettuce plants. Peroxidase (POD) activity increased by 95.4% at a nitrogen level of 200 mg/L compared to a nitrogen level of 100 mg/L. Ascorbate peroxidase (APX) activity and leaf phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) concentrations were the highest in plants treated with a nitrogen source of 100 mg/L without foliar application of Azotobacter. As nitrogen levels increased in all treatments, nitrate reductase (NR) activity decreased and reached a minimum at the 200 mg/L nitrogen level. In general, foliar application of Azotobacter sp. can be used to promote plant growth and reduce nitrate accumulation in lettuce. Full article
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22 pages, 2625 KiB  
Article
Ascophyllum nodosum Based Extracts Counteract Salinity Stress in Tomato by Remodeling Leaf Nitrogen Metabolism
by Emilia Dell’Aversana, Valerio Cirillo, Michael James Van Oosten, Emilio Di Stasio, Katya Saiano, Pasqualina Woodrow, Loredana Filomena Ciarmiello, Albino Maggio and Petronia Carillo
Plants 2021, 10(6), 1044; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10061044 - 21 May 2021
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3164
Abstract
Biostimulants have rapidly and widely been adopted as growth enhancers and stress protectants in agriculture, however, due to the complex nature of these products, their mechanism of action is not clearly understood. By using two algal based commercial biostimulants in combination with the [...] Read more.
Biostimulants have rapidly and widely been adopted as growth enhancers and stress protectants in agriculture, however, due to the complex nature of these products, their mechanism of action is not clearly understood. By using two algal based commercial biostimulants in combination with the Solanum lycopersicum cv. MicroTom model system, we assessed how the modulation of nitrogen metabolites and potassium levels could contribute to mediate physiological mechanisms that are known to occur in response to salt/and or osmotic stress. Here we provide evidence that the reshaping of amino acid metabolism can work as a functional effector, coordinating ion homeostasis, osmotic adjustment and scavenging of reactive oxygen species under increased osmotic stress in MicroTom plant cells. The Superfifty biostimulant is responsible for a minor amino acid rich-phenotype and could represent an interesting instrument to untangle nitrogen metabolism dynamics in response to salinity and/or osmotic stress. Full article
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