Elimination of gibberellin from Kappaphycus alvarezii seaweed sap foliar spray enhances corn stover production without compromising the grain yield advantage
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Sustainable intensification of agricultural productivity is a global challenge. The sap of the commercially important red seaweed, Kappaphycus alvarezii, has been of interest in this regard, and its application as foliar spray has had a profound impact on the yields of many crops. It has been shown to contain indole acetic acid, kinetin, zeatin and gibberellic acid (GA3) but no study is yet reported on the interactions among these constituents, if any. In the present study, selective solvent extraction was undertaken to obtain GA3-free and indole acetic acid-free sap compositions. Another composition was prepared by autoclaving the sap which resulted in degradation of all the above growth hormones. The sap variants, along with water spray (control) and pristine sap, were applied on Zea mays as foliar spray over three consecutive seasons in dilute form. The four sap treatments were at par with one another—and significantly superior to control treatment—in so far as grain yield and quality were concerned. Pristine sap was subsequently shown to also contain choline and glycine betaine, and these were detected in similar amounts in all the sap variants, apparently indicating their profound influence on grain yield. Another important observation was that GA3-free sap led to heightened photosynthetic activity which translated into 26 % increase in corn stover yield compared to pristine sap. This is hypothesized to be on account of prevention of negative interactions between GA3 and other hormones. The study constitutes the first report of enhancement of performance of a natural seaweed plant stimulant towards increasing plant growth through simplification of its composition.
KeywordsKappaphycus alvarezii sap Gibberellin removal Effect on maize Enhanced photosynthesis Grain and corn stover yield
We thank the referees for valuable suggestions. CSIR, New Delhi is gratefully acknowledged for supporting this project. We wish to thank Mr. A. K. Das for providing mass spectral data, Mr. C. Paliwal for measurement of calorific values, Mr. C. Jambucha for assistance with data collection, Dr. K. Eswaran for providing pristine sap, and Mr. K. Chokshi for assistance in compilation of manuscript. Dr P. K. Agarwal and Mr. K. G. Vijayanand are acknowledged for helpful discussions. The Universities and Institutes of BCKV, RAU, PSB, ICAR-NEHR, GKVK, MPUAT, CCHAU, TNAU and BAU are acknowledged for sharing data on field trials with pristine sap on maize. DM thanks CSIR for award of NET Fellowship.
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