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Plant-based protein hydrolysate improves salinity tolerance in hemp: Agronomical and physiological aspects

  • Autori: Di Mola I.; Conti S.; Cozzolino E.; Melchionna G.; Ottaiano L.; Testa A.; Sabatino L.; Rouphael Y.; Mori M.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2021
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is a multipurpose plant attracting increasing interest as a source for the production of natural fibers, paper, bio-building material and food. In this research we studied the agronomical performance of Cannabis sativa cv. Eletta Campana irrigated with saline water. Under those conditions, we tested the effect of protein hydrolysate (PH) biostimulant application in overcoming and/or balancing deleterious salinity effects. The results of the diverse treatments were also investigated at the physiological level, focusing on photosynthesis by means of a chlorophyll a fluorescence technique, which give an insight into the plant primary photochemical reactions. Four salinity levels of the irrigation solution (fresh water-EC0, and NaCl solutions at EC 2.0, 4.0 or 6.0 dS m−1, EC2, EC4 and EC6, respectively) were combined with 2 biostimulant treatments (untreated (control) or treated with a commercial legume-derived protein hydrolysate (LDPH)). The increasing salinity affected plant photochemistry resulting in lower plant growth and seed production, while the LDPH biostimulant showed a protective effect, which improved crop performance both in control and in salinity conditions. The LDPH treatment improved seeds yield (+38.6% on average of all treated plants respect to untreated plants), as well as residual biomass, relevant in fiber production.