Phenol-containing organic substances stimulate phenylpropanoid
metabolism in Zea mays

Andrea Ertani, Michela Schiavon, Adriano Altissimo, Clizia Franceschi, and Serenella Nardi

J. Plant Nutr. Soil Sci. 2011, 000, 1ā€“8

Abstract
Intensive land use may affect soil properties (e.g., decreased soil organic matter [SOM] content)
and, consequently, reduce crop yields considerably. One way of counteracting the loss of SOM
and stimulating plant productivity could be the use of organic residues from agro-industrial processes as bioactive products. The present study was focused on the possible effects of phenol containing organic substances derived from agro-industrial by-products on maize (Zea mays L.)
metabolism in a pot experiment. Plants were grown for 12 d in a nutrient solution in the absence
(control) or in the presence of either a cellulosolitic dry apple hydrolyzate (AP) or a dry blueberry
cool extract (BB) applied at two rates (0.1 and 1 mL Lā€“1). Both products increased root and leaf
biomass and led to higher concentrations of macronutrients in the plant tissue. AP and BB also
had a positive impact on nitrogen (N) metabolism stimulating the activity and gene expression of
phenylalanine ammonia-lyase, a key enzyme of the phenylpropanoid pathway. Furthermore,
both products increased leaf concentrations of phenols (+ 28% and 49% for AP and BB, respectively) and flavonoids (+ 22% and 25% for AP and BB, respectively). From our results it can be
assumed that residues from agro-industry may be successfully used as bioactive products in
agriculture to increase plant yield and resistance to stress conditions.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS TOPIC CONTACT THE AUTHOR OF THE PUBLICATION:

Adriano Altissimo

tel: 0444 357929

mail: a.altissimo@landlab.net