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  • Author or Editor: Juan Quijia Pillajo x
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Humic substances are components of soil organic matter that influence soil structure and fertility. Humic and fulvic acids can be extracted from soil and other organic sources, and are used as biostimulants to promote plant growth and increase nutrient availability and uptake. The goal of this study was to determine whether selected humic and fulvic acid–based commercial products would promote growth and flowering of petunia (Petunia ×hybrida) ‘Picobella Blue’ grown in soilless media with low or optimal fertilizer rates. Plants were grown in 11.4-cm pots filled with peat-based media [80:20 peat:perlite (v/v); pH 5.4]. Three biostimulant products were evaluated at different rates and application frequencies: Huma Pro, a liquid humic acid biostimulant; Fulvi Pro, a liquid fulvic acid biostimulant; and Micromate, a powder containing both humic and fulvic acids. In Expt. 1, Huma Pro and Fulvi Pro were drenched weekly onto the growing media at a rate of 5, 10, or 20 mL⋅L–1; Micromate was drenched weekly at a rate of 5, 10, 20, or 40 g⋅L–1. Plants were fertilized with either 50 mg⋅L–1 nitrogen (N) (low fertility) or 100 mg⋅L–1 N (optimal fertility) from Jack’s Professional 20N–1.3P–15.7K Petunia FeED each irrigation. Control plants received fertilizer but no biostimulant treatments. In Expt. 2, biostimulant treatments were drenched once at transplant, biweekly, or weekly at a rate of 1.25, 2.5, 5, or 10 mL⋅L–1 for Huma Pro and Fulvi Pro; and at 5, 10, 20, or 40 g⋅L–1 for Micromate. All plants received constant liquid feed at the lower fertilizer rate of 50 mg⋅L–1 N. In Expt. 1, plants fertilized with 100 mg⋅L–1 N and treated with 20 g⋅L–1 Micromate had the best performance. The average shoot dry weight was 32% greater than that of the control plants. Micromate (20 g⋅L–1)-treated plants had an average of five more flowers per plant, and they flowered 4 days earlier than untreated control plants. In Expt. 2, plants treated with 40 g⋅L–1 of Micromate weekly had the greatest shoot dry weight compared with the other treatments. Weekly Micromate treatments (40 g⋅L–1) resulted in plants with an average of 13 more flowers per plant, which flowered 7 days earlier than control plants. Plants treated with Fulvi Pro and Huma Pro at 20 mL⋅L–1 had a significantly greater concentration of potassium in shoot tissue, whereas Micromate treatments at 20 and 40 g⋅L–1 resulted in a greater concentration of phosphorous in the shoots. The humic and fulvic acids in Micromate improved petunia crop quality by promoting vegetative growth, increasing flower numbers, and reducing the time to flower.

Open Access

Autophagy allows for the degradation and recycling of macromolecules and organelles. It plays a significant role in cellular homeostasis, nutrient remobilization during leaf senescence, and abiotic stress responses. Autophagosomes are the hallmark feature of autophagy, and their formation is regulated by the AuTophaGy-related (ATG) genes. The expression profiles of ATG genes have been reported in several agronomic and model plants. To gain insight into the role of autophagy in senescence and abiotic stress responses in floriculture crops, we investigated the regulation of petunia (Petunia ×hybrida) ATG genes (PhATG4, PhATG5, PhATG6, PhATG7, PhATG8a, and PhATG13) during flower senescence and in response to low fertility, nutrient deficiency (-N, -P, and -K), and chronic (weeks) or acute (hours) salt stress using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Age-induced corolla wilting coincided with the increased expression of all ATG genes. Petunia ATG genes were upregulated by low fertility and N and P deficiency. Acute salt stress rapidly increased the expression of the petunia ATG genes, but chronic salt stress treatments did not. This project provides insight into the role of autophagy in flower senescence and abiotic stress responses in floriculture crops.

Free access