The practicality of utilizing chitosan (MW = 5000-10,000) as a natural antimicrobial compound to reduce soybean sprout rot was tested. Soybean seeds were soaked for 6 h in solutions containing different levels of chitosan and acetic acid (glacial), and cultivated at 25 °C for 5 days. Soaking seeds with 1000 ppm chitosan increased germination percentage, hypocotyl thickness, total length, and fresh weight of sprouts by 4%, 5%, 2%, and 1%, respectively. The total sprout yield was increased by chitosan in a concentration-dependent manner in that 1000 ppm chitosan resulted in 8% increment of total yield (7.47 kg sprouts/kg seed). Compared to control (13.8%), chitosan significantly reduced sprout rot percentage to 7.0%, and consequently enhanced the marketable sprout yield by 39%. Although 100 ppm acetic acid also decreased sprout rot percentage to 11.8%, its yield-increasing effects were not as prominent as chitosan.
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