Microalgae have been identified as producers of a plethora of bioactive compounds which could have growth stimulating effects on plants. The objective of this study was to investigate if two selected strains of eukaryotic green microalgae belonging to Chlamydomonas and Chlorella genus, designated as cc124 and MACC-360 respectively, have growth promoting effects on tomato plants grown under controlled greenhouse conditions. We investigated the physiological responses of a determinate tomato draft tomato variety cultivated in pots containing a mixture of vermiculate and soil and layered with clay at the bottom. The application of alga whole cell suspensions did not affect the plant height but increased the fruit number, fruit diameter, average fruit weight and total yield. Chlamydomonas strain delayed flowering while Chlorella strain enhanced flowering. For almost all the traits analyzed, the effect of algae treatment depended on the algae strain. Transcription analysis of unopened flower buds revealed the role of microalgae in inducing systemic resistance in plants. These results indicate microalgae not only promotes plant growth but also primes plants for tolerance to both abiotic and biotic stresses.
What will audience learn from your presentation?
- Microalgae are plant growth promoting microorganisms
- Extraction of bioactive compounds for application to plants is not necessary.
- Microalgae based biostimulants can be cost effective in terms of labor, space, energy and time when compared other types of biostimulants.
- The strain-specific effects of microalgae on plants is crucial and different algae strains should be investigated and characterized