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THE EFFECTS OF PLANT-DERIVED PROTEIN HYDROLYSATES ON THE GROWTH, QUALITY, AND PHYSIOLOGY OF GREENHOUSE CROPS
thesisposted on 2021-07-30, 13:34 authored by Seunghyun ChoiSeunghyun Choi
Biostimulants offer an innovative approach to potentially improve crop yield and quality under abiotic stresses. Particularly, plant-derived protein hydrolysates (PH), a mixture of amino acids and soluble peptides from enzymatic or chemical hydrolysis of agricultural waste, are gaining global interest due to their sustainability and positive effects on crops. However, a functional role of the PH in crop yield and quality remains uncertain and is proposed to be associated with its phytohormone-like activities or serve as an additional nitrogen (N) source. Besides, the effects of PH on crop yield and quality are limited in intensive production systems such as greenhouse facilities. The purposes of this research are to examine the effects and mechanisms of PH on crops and to assess the potential of PH application to reduce fertilizer use in crop production. The specific objectives were to; 1) elucidate the hormone-like activities of PH in the adventitious rooting formation of cuttings, 2) evaluate the effects of different PH application methods on greenhouse crop yield and quality under different N levels when plants are grown with a commercial growing medium, and 3) examine the effects of PH application methods on yield and quality of hydroponically grown lettuce under different N levels and forms. Three conclusions were that 1) the hormonal effects of PH are attributed to brassinosteroid-mediated processes, and PH has overlapping functions with auxin during adventitious rooting of cuttings in a plant species-specific manner, 2) root application of PH (PH-R) effectively improves nutrient uptake compared to foliar spray of PH (PH-F), subsequently, increases the lettuce and tomato yield and quality regardless of N levels while PH-R did not change the chemical properties of growing media, and 3) PH-R effectively increases root growth, and subsequently, improving shoot yield and quality with significant PH × N levels and PH × NO3:NH4 ratios interactions. Also, PH-R counteracted the negative effects of low NO3:NH4 ratios on lettuce yield. The outcomes provide the optimization of PH and N fertilization in modern sustainable greenhouse production and the development of a new strategy for producing high-quality greenhouse crops with improved nutrient use efficiency.