Foliar application of different vegetal-derived protein hydrolysates distinctively modulates tomato root development and metabolism

Angela Valentina Ceccarelli, Maria Begona Miras Moreno, Valentina Buffagni, Biancamaria Senizza, Youry Pii, Mariateresa Cardarelli, Youssef Rouphael, Giuseppe Colla, Luigi Lucini

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3 Citazioni (Scopus)


Despite the scientific evidence supporting their biostimulant activity, the molecular mechanism(s) underlying the activity of protein hydrolysates (PHs) and the specificity among different products are still poorly explored. This work tested five different protein hydrolysates, produced from different plant sources using the same enzymatic approach, for their ability to promote rooting in tomato cuttings following quick dipping. Provided that all the different PHs increased root length (45–93%) and some of them increased root number (37–56%), untargeted metabolomics followed by multivariate statistics and pathway analysis were used to unravel the molecular processes at the basis of the biostimulant activity. Distinct metabolomic signatures could be found in roots following the PHs treatments. In general, PHs shaped the phytohormone profile, modulating the complex interaction between cytokinins and auxins, an interplay playing a pivotal role in root development, and triggered a down accumulation of brassinosteroids. Concerning secondary metabolism, PHs induced the accumulation of aliphatic glucosinolates, alkaloids, and phenylpropanoids, potentially eliciting crop resilience to stress conditions. Here, we confirm that PHs may have a hormone-like activity, and that their application can modulate plant growth, likely interfering with signaling processes. Noteworthy, the heterogenicity of the botanical origin supported the distinctive and peculiar metabolomic responses we observed across the products tested. While supporting their biostimulant activity, these findings suggest that a generalized crop response to PHs cannot be defined and that specific effects are rather to be investigated.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1-15
Numero di pagine15
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021


  • Biostimulants
  • Hormone-like activity
  • Metabolomics
  • Plant bioassay
  • Solanum lycoperscum L


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