Yeast as a biofertilizer alters plant growth and morphology

Lonhienne, Thierry, Mason, Michael G., Ragan, Mark A., Hugenholtz, Philip, Schmidt, Susanne and Paungfoo-Lonhienne, Chanyarat (2014) Yeast as a biofertilizer alters plant growth and morphology. Crop Science, 54 2: 785-790. doi:10.2135/cropsci2013.07.0488

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Author Lonhienne, Thierry
Mason, Michael G.
Ragan, Mark A.
Hugenholtz, Philip
Schmidt, Susanne
Paungfoo-Lonhienne, Chanyarat
Title Yeast as a biofertilizer alters plant growth and morphology
Journal name Crop Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0011-183X
Publication date 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.2135/cropsci2013.07.0488
Open Access Status
Volume 54
Issue 2
Start page 785
End page 790
Total pages 6
Place of publication Madison, WI, United States
Publisher Crop Science Society of America
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
It has been previously demonstrated that dicotyledonous plants perform rhizophagy, a process in which live microbial cells are engulfed by root cells and digested to acquire the nutrients from the microbes. Here we tested the hypothesis that rhizophagy is a mechanism of nutrient acquisition that is not restricted to dicotyledonous plants. We report that the monocotyledonous species sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum x spontaneum), grown in controlled axenic conditions, incorporated yeast cells into root cells. This suggests that rhizophagy is an evolutionarily conserved trait that predates the divergence of dicot and monocot species. To explore the potential relevance and practical application of rhizophagy, we investigated brewers' yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), a waste product of the brewing industry, for its role as biofertilizer. The addition of live or dead yeast to fertilized soil substantially increased the nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) content of roots and shoots of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and young sugarcane plants. Yeast addition to soil also increased the root-to-shoot ratio in both species and induced species-specific morphological changes that included increased tillering in sugarcane and greater shoot biomass in tomato plants. These findings support the notion that brewers' yeast is a cost-effective biofertilizer that improves not only plant nutrition but also plant vigor during the early growth phase. It remains to be established which yeast-derived substances trigger the observed plant growth effects, and how rhizophagy contributes to plant nutrient acquisition.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Fri, 14 Mar 2014, 10:25:08 EST by Mrs Louise Nimwegen on behalf of School of Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences