The growing population requires sustainable, environmentally-friendly crops. The plant growth-enhancing properties of algal extracts have suggested their use as biofertilisers. The mechanism(s) by which algal extracts affect plant growth are unknown. We examined the effects of extracts from the common green seaweed Ulva intestinalis on germination and root development in the model land plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Ulva extract concentrations above 0.1% inhibited Arabidopsis germination and root growth. Ulva extract <0.1% stimulated root growth. All concentrations of Ulva extract inhibited lateral root formation. An abscisic-acid-insensitive mutant, abi1, showed altered sensitivity to germination- and root growth-inhibition. Ethylene- and cytokinin-insensitive mutants were partly insensitive to germination-inhibition. This suggests that different mechanisms mediate each effect of Ulva extract on early Arabidopsis development and that multiple hormones contribute to germination-inhibition. Elemental analysis showed that Ulva contains high levels of Aluminium ions (Al3+). Ethylene and cytokinin have been suggested to function in Al3+-mediated root growth inhibition: our data suggest that if Ulva Al3+ levels inhibit root growth, this is via a novel mechanism. We suggest algal extracts should be used cautiously as fertilisers, as the inhibitory effects on early development may outweigh any benefits if the concentration of extract is too high.
|Number of pages||13|
|Early online date||13 Feb 2019|
|Publication status||Published - 13 Feb 2019|
- Abscisic acid
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)