Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 2549–2560 | Cite as

Activity of seaweed extracts and polysaccharide-enriched extracts from Ulva lactuca and Padina gymnospora as growth promoters of tomato and mung bean plants

  • Rosalba Mireya Hernández-Herrera
  • Fernando Santacruz-Ruvalcaba
  • Julia Zañudo-Hernández
  • Gustavo Hernández-Carmona


Although marine seaweeds have been used as biostimulants since the beginning of modern agriculture, studies have only recently focused on the ability of seaweed extracts and their polysaccharides to enhance growth of plants. In this work, two bioassays were carried out to study the growth-promoting activity of seaweed extracts and polysaccharide-enriched extracts from Ulva lactuca and Padina gymnospora, obtained in neutral and alkaline conditions. Initially, the effect of seaweed extracts and polysaccharide-enriched extracts on seed germination and growth-promoting activity on tomato (Solanum lycopersicum cv. Río Grande) plants under in vitro conditions was studied. Half-strength Murashige-Skoog (MS) medium with or without sucrose was supplemented with different concentrations of seaweed extracts (2, 4, and 10 mg mL−1) or polysaccharide-enriched extracts (0.2, 0.4, and 1.0 mg mL−1). The parameters evaluated were germination percentage, radicle and shoot length, and dry weight. In a second experiment, polysaccharide-enriched extracts at 1.0 mg mL−1 and indole-3-butyric acid as the control were studied for root inducer activity in mung bean (Vigna radiata). The majority of seaweed extracts had an inhibitory effect on seed germination. However, a significant effect (P ≤ 0.05) on tomato seedling growth (except for dry weight) was shown with seaweed extracts at 2 mg mL−1 included in half-strength MS medium with sucrose (30 g L−1). Moreover, 10 mg mL−1 neutral and alkaline seaweed extracts had an inhibitory effect on the parameters evaluated. In contrast, polysaccharide-enriched extracts obtained from U. lactuca and P. gymnospora promoted germination and stimulated growth of tomato plants compared to the controls. Additionally, treatment of mung bean hypocotyl cuttings with polysaccharide-enriched extracts of U. lactuca and P. gymnospora induced rooting more rapidly and in greater number compared to the controls. These results provide evidence that polysaccharide-enriched extracts act as an effective growth-promoting treatment.


Seaweed extracts Polysaccharide-enriched extracts Growth stimulation In vitro culture Chlorophyta Phaeophyta 



R.M. Hernández thanks the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT, Mexico) for financial support in the form of a postdoctoral fellowship (36621) and E. Ramirez-Briones for the laboratory assistance on total and reducing sugar determinations. G. Hernández thanks the Comisión de Operación y Fomento de Actividades Académicas del IPN (COFAA) for the fellowship granted under the Program of Exclusivity (Beca de Exclusividad) and also the EDI program (Estímulo al Desempeño de los Investigadores del IPN). We thank the valuable comments of Kim Siewers to improve the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10811_2015_781_MOESM1_ESM.docx (25 kb)
Fig. S1 Schematic diagram of preparation of seaweed extracts and extraction of polysaccharide-enriched extracts from Ulva lactuca and Padina gymnospora (DOCX 24 kb).
10811_2015_781_MOESM2_ESM.docx (4 mb)
Fig. S2 Effect of polysaccharide-enriched extracts on seed germination under in vitro conditions. a seed germination in control (half-strengh MS medium with sucrose 30 g L−1), b seed germination in half-strengh MS medium with sucrose and supplemented with seaweed extracts at 2.0 mg mL−1 of Ulva lactuca and c Padina gymnospora, d seed germination in control (half-strengh MS medium without sucrose), e seed germination in half-strengh MS medium without sucrose and supplemented with alkaline seaweed extracts at 2.0 mg mL−1 of U. lactuca and f P. gymnospora (DOCX 4097 kb).
10811_2015_781_MOESM3_ESM.docx (5.7 mb)
Fig. S3 Tomato seedling growth under culture in vitro. a Tomato seedling after two weeks of incubation, b plants growing in control (half-strengh MS with sucrose at 30 g L−1) and in different concentrations of neutral seaweed extracts from Padina gymnospora (NSE-PG) as well as c neutral seaweed extracts of Ulva lactuca (NSE-UL) combined in half-strengh MS with sucrose (30 g L−1), Bar = 1 cm (DOCX 5788 kb).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosalba Mireya Hernández-Herrera
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fernando Santacruz-Ruvalcaba
    • 2
  • Julia Zañudo-Hernández
    • 2
  • Gustavo Hernández-Carmona
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto Politécnico NacionalCentro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas (CICIMAR)La PazMéxico
  2. 2.Centro Universitario de Ciencias Biológicas y Agropecuarias (CUCBA)Universidad de GuadalajaraZapopanMéxico

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