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The effect of foliar applications of sprays made from kelp (macrocystis integrifolia) on growth of phaseolus vulgaris : b possible role of algal phytohormone-like substances Radley, Reed Alan


The effects of two applications of foliar sprays made from kelp (Macrocystis intearifolia Bory) on growth of beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) under three moisture regimes were investigated. Date of kelp harvest had little effect on plants grown in water excess or deficit conditions, although means for kelp collected in spring tended to be higher. On soils maintained near field capacity, spray made from kelp collected in July resulted in increases in some bean yield components beyond the effects of kelp collected in spring or fall. The effect of storage of liquefied kelp at room temperature was also investigated and found to be soil moisture dependent. Leaf and root weights of plants grown in field capacity and dry soil respectively were lower for plants treated with kelp aged for 118 days compared to plants treated with kelp stored for longer or shorter durations. In wet soil conditions, the effect of sprays on plant height was reduced by storage of the liquefied kelp. Kelp extracts were fractionated by solvent partition. The butanolic fraction was shown to increase significantly many yield variables under wet soil conditions. This fraction had cytokinin-like activity in two bioassay systems, and contained substances co-eluting with isopentenyl adenine and zeatin in column, thin layer, and gas-liquid chromatography systems. Non-significant increases for some plant yield components resulting from application of unfractionated kelp paralleled these increases. A kelp fraction with undefined constituents increased some yield variables of plants grown in field capacity soil, as did a fraction with auxin and gibberellin-like activities in bioassay. The presence of inhibitors in the kelp was indicated by significantly lower pod yields under dry soil conditions, and a reduction in cytokinin-like bioassay activity when increasing amounts of kelp were assayed. The possibility that phytohormone deficits resulting from root stress are ameliorated by some components of the kelp spray is discussed.

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