Marine Biology

, Volume 149, Issue 2, pp 393–400 | Cite as

Stimulation of root formation in Posidonia oceanica cuttings by application of auxins (NAA and IBA)

  • E. BalestriEmail author
  • C. Lardicci
Research Article


At the present, the long period (from 3 up to 12 months) to form roots from rhizome cuttings of Posidonia oceanica is the major cause of transplant failure. To promote earlier rooting, the effects of different concentrations (5 and 10 mg/l) of two auxins, namely indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) and α-naphtalen aetic acid (NAA), and the time of collection on rooting of plagiotropic and orthotropic cuttings of P. oceanica were tested. Rooting, survival and growth of cuttings were assessed 1 month after planting in a mesocosm. Results demonstrated that the use of auxin was essential to achieve root initiation within the observation period. Irrespective of plant source and collection time, IBA and NAA (5 mg/l) treatments increased the rooting capacity in cuttings. The highest rooting success (i.e. percentage of the survived cuttings that rooted) obtained was 33%. Results also revealed that the survival rate and percentages of cuttings with leaf growth and emergence of new leaves on their terminal shoot were influenced by the collection time × plant source interaction, but were unaffected by the auxin treatment. Orthotropic cuttings taken in November and February showed the highest survival rate (100%). No differences in survival among months were detected for plagiotropic cuttings. In May and July, more plagiotropic cuttings survived (80±7 and 75±6%) compared to orthotropic cuttings (58±7 and 51±4%). Overall, more plagiotropic cuttings showed leaf elongation compared to orthotropic ones, but the inverse was observed in November. A higher percentage of cuttings with emergence of new leaves was observed in the plagiotropic type as compared to the orthotropic one, and in general February and November were the best months for leaf production (28±4 and 38±7%). Finally, the percentage of cuttings that had changed leaf growth orientation (from orthotropic to plagiotropic) was significantly higher in November (63±13%) compared to the other months and tended to be higher in cuttings treated with the auxins compared to controls. These preliminary findings indicate that exposure to IBA or NAA (5 mg/l) was effective in stimulating rooting in P. oceanica without inhibiting plant growth. Therefore, this simple pre-planting practice should be beneficial in restoration attempts. Based on the trend observed, rhizomes should be prepared preferably in late autumn–winter and then planted into restoration stands to achieve a prompt rooting response and the best survival rate. Clearly, future work is needed to maximize the rooting success of cuttings.


Adventitious Root Root Formation Leaf Growth Plant Source Natural Seawater 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are very grateful to Solvay & Co. Plant of Rosignano Solvay (Livorno, Italy) and the Province of Livorno for providing the financial support for this study. We thank S. Bertini, F. Vallerini and V. Pasqualetti for technical assistance. We also wish to thank the Mariculture Centre of Rosignano Solvay (Livorno, Italy) for providing technical facilities. The experiment was performed with the current laws of Italy.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Uomo e dell’AmbienteUniversity of PisaPisaItaly

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