Enhancing growth, phytochemical constituents and aphid resistance capacity in cabbage with foliar application of eckol - a biologically active phenolic molecule from brown seaweed.
N Biotechnol. 2015 Nov 14. Epub 2015 Nov 14. PMID: 26585339
Kannan R R Rengasamy
Although foliar application of seaweed extracts on plant growth and development is extensively studied, reliable knowledge and understanding of mode of action of particular compound(s) responsible for enhancing plant growth is lacking. A brown seaweed Ecklonia maxima is widely used commercially as a biostimulant to improve plant growth and crop protection. Eckol, a phenolic compound isolated from E. maxima has recently shown stimulatory effects in maize, indicating its potential use as a plant biostimulant. Cabbage is a widely cultivated vegetable crop throughout the world, which requires high input of fertilizers and is susceptible to several aphid borne diseases. This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of foliar application of eckol on the growth, phytochemical constituents and myrosinase activity (aphid resistance capacity) of commercially cultivated cabbage. Foliar application of eckol (10(-6)M) significantly enhanced shoot and root length, shoot and root fresh and dry weight, leaf area and leaf number. This treatment also showed a significant increase in photosynthetic pigments (chlorophyll 'a', chlorophyll 'b', total chlorophyll and carotenoid) compared to the untreated plants. The levels of protein, proline and iridoid glycosides were significantly higher in cabbage leaves with eckol treatment. All the control plants were severely infested with cabbage aphid (Brevicoryne brassicae) but no infestation was observed on the eckol-sprayed plants, which can be attributed to an increase in myrosinase activity. This study reveals dual effects (plant growth promoting and insect repelling) of eckol on cabbage plants that need further investigations both under field conditions and in other brassicaceous species.