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Colla G.,University of Tuscia | Nardi S.,University of Padua | Cardarelli M.,Centro Of Ricerca Per Lo Studio Delle Relazioni Tra Pianta E Suolo | Ertani A.,University of Padua | And 3 more authors.
Scientia Horticulturae | Year: 2015

In recent years, new strategies have been proposed in order to improve the sustainability of production systems for horticultural crops. A promising tool would be the use of substances and/or microorganisms defined also as 'biostimulants' able to enhance crop quality parameters, nutrient efficiency and abiotic stress tolerance. Protein hydrolysates (PHs) are an important group of plant biostimulants based on a mixture of peptides and amino acids that have received increasing attention in the recent years due to their positive effects on crop performances. PHs are mainly produced by enzymatic and/or chemical hydrolysis of proteins from animal- or plant-derived raw materials. The current review gives an overview of the biostimulant properties of PHs on productivity and product quality of horticultural crops, in particular fruit trees, vegetables, flower crops and ornamentals. After a brief introduction on PHs as plant biostimulants, this review focuses on the classification and chemical composition of PHs according to the source of proteins and method of protein hydrolysis. The plant uptake and transport of amino acids and peptides and the effects of PHs on primary and secondary metabolism as well as the biochemical and physiological processes conferring tolerance to abiotic stress are also covered. The review concludes by proposing several perspectives for future research aiming to understand the mode of action of PHs based on their composition and also to define the suitable time and dose of application. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. Source

Colla G.,University of Tuscia | Rouphael Y.,University of Naples Federico II | Canaguier R.,Nixe Laboratory | Svecova E.,University of Tuscia | Cardarelli M.,Italian Agricultural Research Council
Frontiers in Plant Science | Year: 2014

The aim of this study was to evaluate the biostimulant action (hormone like activity, nitrogen uptake, and growth stimulation) of a plant-derived protein hydrolysate by means of two laboratory bioassays: a corn (Zea mays L.) coleoptile elongation rate test (Experiment 1), a rooting test on tomato cuttings (Experiment 2); and two greenhouse experiments: a dwarf pea (Pisum sativum L.) growth test (Experiment 3), and a tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) nitrogen uptake trial (Experiment 4). Protein hydrolysate treatments of corn caused an increase in coleoptile elongation rate when compared to the control, in a dose-dependent fashion, with no significant differences between the concentrations 0.75, 1.5, and 3.0 ml/L, and inodole-3-acetic acid treatment. The auxin-like effect of the protein hydrolysate on corn has been also observed in the rooting experiment of tomato cuttings. The shoot, root dry weight, root length, and root area were significantly higher by 21, 35, 24, and 26%, respectively, in tomato treated plants with the protein hydrolysate at 6 ml/L than untreated plants. In Experiment 3, the application of the protein hydrolysate at all doses (0.375, 0.75, 1.5, and 3.0 ml/L) significantly increased the shoot length of the gibberellin-deficient dwarf pea plants by an average value of 33% in comparison with the control treatment. Increasing the concentration of the protein hydrolysate from 0 to 10 ml/L increased the total dry biomass, SPAD index, and leaf nitrogen content by 20.5, 15, and 21.5%, respectively. Thus the application of plant-derived protein hydrolysate containing amino acids and small peptides elicited a hormone-like activity, enhanced nitrogen uptake and consequently crop performances. © 2014 Colla, Rouphael, Canaguier, Svecova and Cardarelli. Source

Lucini L.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Rouphael Y.,University of Naples Federico II | Cardarelli M.,Italian Agricultural Research Council | Canaguier R.,Nixe Laboratory | And 2 more authors.
Scientia Horticulturae | Year: 2015

Plant-derived protein hydrolysates represent new biostimulant products able to improve crop tolerance to abiotic stresses. The aim of the study was to determine growth, root morphology, SPAD index, chlorophyll fluorescence, leaf mineral composition, and metabolic profiling of greenhouse lettuce either untreated or treated (root or leaf-root application) with a plant-derived protein hydrolysate. For foliar application, plants were sprayed with a solution containing 2.5mlL-1 of biostimulant, whereas for root application, 100mL of solution with the same concentration was applied to the growing medium at weekly intervals. Lettuce plants were supplied with two nutrient solutions: non-salt control (1mM NaCl) or 25mM NaCl. Salt stress decreased shoot and root dry biomass, SPAD index, chlorophyll fluorescence, leaf mineral composition and increased foliar proline concentration. Root and leaf-root application of the biostimulant increased fresh yield, dry biomass and root dry weight of lettuce under salinity conditions. This was associated with an improvement of plant nitrogen metabolism and an increase of the Fv/Fm-ratio efficiency in biostimulant-treated plants. Oxidative stress mitigation, increase in osmolytes, changes in sterols and terpenes composition, as well as the less expected increase in glucosinolates were also observed in biostimulant-treated plants grown under saline conditions. The present study proves that the application of plant-derived protein hydrolysate increases plant performance when plants are grown under salinity conditions. The most favorable metabolic profile was obtained when biostimulant was applied to both roots and leaves. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. Source

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