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Title: Stimulation of plant growth by (3-methoxyphenyl)acetonitile applied as a foliar spray in vivo or as a medium amendment in vitro

item Vaughn, Steven
item Berhow, Mark
item Tisserat, Brent

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/2/2007
Publication Date: 3/30/2008
Citation: Vaughn, S.F., Berhow, M.A., Tisserat, B. 2008. Stimulation of plant growth by (3-methoxyphenyl)acetonitile applied as a foliar spray in vivo or as a medium amendment in vitro. HortScience. 43(2):372-375.

Interpretive Summary: Enhancing the growth rate of plants grown in greenhouses or other controlled environments is important due to the high costs associated with these crops. In this study, we found that growth promotion for a variety of plants grown in the greenhouse is possible employing the compound (3-methoxyphenyl)acetonitrile (3-MPAN), applied as an aqueous foliar spray. Because very low rates of 3-MPAN were effective in promoting growth, and applications are relatively simple (i.e., the solutions are applied to the point where excess solution drips off the target plant), 3-MPAN appears to offer potential as a commercial plant growth promotion agent for greenhouse-grown crops.

Technical Abstract: Meadowfoam (Limnanthes alba Hartweg ex. Benth.) seedmeal, a co-product of oil extraction from meadowfoam seeds, increased the growth of greenhouse plants when added to the growing medium. 3-MPAN {(3-Methoxyphenyl)acetonitile} is a biologically-active glucosinolate degradation compound previously identified at high levels in meadowfoam seedmeal. 3-MPAN was tested as a foliar spray at several concentrations (0, 0.025, 0.05, 0.1, 0.3, and 1.0 mL'L-1) on lime basil (Ocimum basilicum L.), spearmint (Mentha spicata L.), cuphea (Cuphea lanceolata L.), and French marigold (Tagetes patula L.) seedlings grown in the greenhouse. 3-MPAN increased the fresh and dry weights of all four species tested. This effect, however, was dose-dependent among species, with spearmint growth higher at all 3-MPAN application rates while basil growth was promoted at only the 0.3 mL'L-1 rate. 3-MPAN increased the tissue concentrations of the secondary compound (-)-carvone at the 1.0 mL'L-1 application rate. In addition, 3-MPAN added to sterile nutrient media stimulated the growth of spearmint plants in vitro. These results indicate that 3-MPAN may have applicability as a post-emergence growth stimulant for a wide variety of plants.