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Seaweed Extract Improves Lagenaria siceraria Young Shoot Production, Mineral Profile and Functional Quality

  • Autori: Beppe Benedetto Consentino; Leo Sabatino; Rosario Paolo Mauro; Carlo Nicoletto; Claudio De Pasquale; Giovanni Iapichino; Salvatore La Bella
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2021
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
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Vegetable landraces represent the main source of biodiversity in Sicily. Lagenaria siceraria is appreciated by Southern Mediterranean consumers for its immature fruits and young shoots. Plant-based biostimulants supply, such as seaweed extract (SwE), is a contemporary and green agricultural practice applied to ameliorate the yield and quality of vegetables. However, there are no studies concerning the effects of SwE on L. siceraria. The current study evaluated the effects of SwE foliar application (0 or 3 mL L-1) on five L. siceraria landraces (G1, G2, G3, G4 and G5) grown in greenhouses. Growth traits, first female flower emission, fruit yield, young shoot yield, fruit firmness, young shoot nitrogen use efficiency (NUEys) and specific young shoot quality parameters, such as soluble solids content (SSC), mineral profile, ascorbic acid, and polyphenols, were appraised. Plant height and number of leaves at 10, 20 and 30 days after transplant (DAT) were significantly higher in plants treated with SwE as compared with untreated plants. Treating plants with SwE increased marketable fruit yield, fruit mean mass, young shoot yield and number of young shoots by 14.4%, 15.0%, 22.2%, 32.4%, and 32.0%, respectively as compared with untreated plants. Relevant increments were also recorded for NUEys, P, K, Ca, Mg, ascorbic acid and polyphenols concentration. SwE application did not significantly affect total yield and SSC. Furthermore, SwE treated plants produced a lower number of marketable fruits than non-treated plants. The present study showed that SwE at 3 mL L-1 can fruitfully enhance crop performance, young shoot yield and quality of L. siceraria.