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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Determining Impact of Soil Environment and Root Function on Horticultural Crop Productivity and Quality

Location: Horticultural Crops Research

Title: Phenolic composition of basil plants is differentially altered by plant nutrient status and inoculation with mycorrhizal fungi

Authors
item SCAGEL, CAROLYN
item LEE, JUNGMIN

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 26, 2012
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Citation: Scagel, C.F., Lee, J. 2012. Phenolic composition of basil plants is differentially altered by plant nutrient status and inoculation with mycorrhizal fungi. HortScience. 47(5):660-671.

Interpretive Summary: Four cultivars of basil (‘Cinnamon’, ‘Siam Queen’, ‘Sweet Dani’, and ‘Red Rubin’) were inoculated or not with an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus (AMF), and grown with low-phosphorus (P) or high-P fertilizer to assess whether (1) P-availability and inoculation with AMF influence the phenolic composition of basil; and (2) treatment effects on phenolic composition are related to plant nutrient status. Increased P-rate and AMF-inoculation increased basil growth. Increased P-rate enhanced P and Ca uptake and AMF-inoculation enhanced N, K, S, B, Fe, and Zn uptake. Difference in uptake of other nutrients between P-rates and AMF treatments were a function of differences in growth. Treatment effects on phenolic accumulation were related to the effects of P-rate and AMF on (1) plant growth, (2) nutrient uptake, and (3) other factors not directly related to measured differences in nutrient uptake or plant growth. Differences between treatments in rosmarinic acid, the predominant polyphenolic produced by all cultivars, were related to the effects of P-rate and AMF on plant growth. Both increased P-rate and AMF inoculation enhanced production of chicoric acid and an unnamed caffeic acid derivative. Increased P-rate and inoculation with AMF differentially enhanced production of several other minor polyphenolics, resulting in plants with different polyphenolic profiles. Results indicate that AMF inoculation may be an additional strategy for optimizing basil quality, in terms of polyphenolic production and composition, beyond benefits obtained from just altering plant nutrient status or selecting specific cultivars.

Technical Abstract: Four cultivars of basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Cinnamon’, ‘Siam Queen’, ‘Sweet Dani’, and ‘Red Rubin’) were inoculated or not with the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus (AMF), Rhizophagus intraradices, and grown with a fertilizer containing either 64 mg/l P (low-P) or 128 mg/l P (high-P) to assess whether (1) P-availability and inoculation with AMF influence the phenolic composition of basil; and (2) treatment effects on phenolic composition are related to plant nutrient status. Growth, AMF colonization, anthocyanins, total phenolics, specific polyphenolics, and mineral nutrients were measured after 16-weeks of growth. Non-inoculated plants were not colonized by AMF. AMF colonization was not influenced by P-rate. Increased P-rate and AMF-inoculation increased biomass. Increased P-rate enhanced (increased concentration and content) P and Ca uptake and AMF-inoculation enhanced N, K, S, B, Fe, and Zn uptake. Increased or decreased uptake (content) of other nutrients between P-rates and AMF treatments were related to differences in biomass (e.g., similar or lower concentration). Treatment effects on phenolic accumulation were related to the effects of P-rate and AMF on (1) plant growth, (2) nutrient uptake, and (3) other factors not directly related to measured differences in nutrient uptake or plant growth. Differences between treatments in rosmarinic acid, the predominant polyphenolic produced by all cultivars, were related to the effects of P-rate and AMF on plant growth. Both increased P-rate and AMF inoculation enhanced production (increased concentration and content) of chicoric acid and an unnamed caffeic acid derivative. Increased P-rate and inoculation with AMF differentially enhanced production of several other minor polyphenolics, resulting in plants with different polyphenolic profiles. Results indicate that AMF inoculation may be an additional strategy for optimizing basil quality, in terms of polyphenolic production and composition, beyond benefits obtained from just altering plant nutrient status or selecting specific cultivars.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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