Chitooligosaccharides (COS) - water soluble derivatives from chitin, are an interesting group of molecules for several biological applications, for they can enter plant cells and bind negatively charged molecules. Several studies reported an enhanced plant growth and higher crop yield due to chitosan application in soil grown plants, but no studies have looked on the effect of COS application on plant mineral nutrient dynamics in hydroponically grown plants. In this study, Phaseolus vulgaris was grown in hydroponic culture and the effect of three different concentrations of COS on plant growth and mineral accumulation was assessed. There were significant changes in mineral allocations for Mo, B, Zn, P, Pb, Cd, Mn, Fe, Mg, Ca, Cu, Na, Al and K among treatments. Plant morphology was severely affected in high doses of COS, as well as lignin concentration in the stem and the leaves, but not in the roots. Chlorophyll A, B and carotenoid concentrations did not change significantly among treatments, suggesting that even at higher concentrations, COS application did not affect photosynthetic pigment accumulation. Plants grown at high COS levels had shorter shoots and roots, suggesting that COS can be phytotoxic to the plant. The present study is the first detailed report on the effect of COS application on mineral nutrition in plants, and opens the door for future studies that aim at utilizing COS in biofortification or phytoremediation programs.
- Common bean
- Phaseolus vulgaris