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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Functional Foods Research

Title: Stimulation of short-term plant growth by glycerol applied as foliar sprays and drenches under greenhouse conditions

item Tisserat, Brent
item Stuff, Amy

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/24/2011
Publication Date: 12/1/2011
Citation: Tisserat, B., Stuff, A.M. 2011. Stimulation of short-term plant growth by glycerol applied as foliar sprays and drenches under greenhouse conditions. HortScience. 46:1650-1654.

Interpretive Summary: Glycerol is an “environmentally friendly,” food grade sugar alcohol that is currently generated as a by-product in bio-diesel manufacturing. Currently, the existing traditional markets for glycerol use are saturated and new products need to be developed to utilize this commodity. This research focuses on the development of a means to employ glycerol directly on agricultural crops through spraying or drenching. Treated crops may exhibit over a 100% increase in growth by such treatments. Utilization of glycerol as outlined in this paper would promote enhanced growth and create a new market for its glycerol.

Technical Abstract: Foliar and drench applications of glycerol were tested at 0, 0.1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 ml.l-1 on ‘Chantenay’ carrot (Daucus carota L.) family Apiaceae. Certain glycerol levels, especially the 1 to 10 ml.L-1 treatments, substantially increased fresh and dry weights of carrots sprayed twice over a 60-day period. For example, fresh weights, dry weights and tuber diam from carrot seedlings sprayed with a solution containing 5 ml.L-1 (5 x 10-2 M) glycerol increased 114%, 175% and 53%, respectively, when compared to untreated carrots. Foliar sprays were administered to corn (Zea mays L., family Poaceae) at concentrations 0, 0.1, 0.3. 0.5, and 1.0 ml.L-1 and spearmint (Mentha spicata L., family Lamiaceae) at concentrations of 0, 1.0, 0.5, and 10 ml.L-1. Beneficial growth results were obtained in both corn and spearmint with certain glycerol concentrations. Glycerol applications can stimulate growth responses in diverse plant species.

Last Modified: 06/27/2017
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