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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Metabolic Processes and Biological Macromolecules Defined the Positive Effects of Protein-Rich Biostimulants on Sugar Beet Plant Development

Jolayemi, Okanlawon L.; Malik, Ali H.; Vetukuri, Ramesh R.; Saripella, Ganapathi V.; Kalyandurg, Pruthvi B.; Ekblad, Tobias; Yong, Jean W. H.; Olsson, Marie E.; Johansson, Eva


Protein-based biostimulants (PBBs) have a positive effect on plant development, although the biological background for this effect is not well understood. Here, hydrolyzed wheat gluten (HWG) and potato protein film (PF) in two levels (1 and 2 g/kg soil) and in two different soils (low and high nutrient; LNC and HNC) were used as PBBs. The effect of these PBBs on agronomic traits, sugars, protein, and peptides, as well as metabolic processes, were evaluated on sugar beet in comparison with no treatment (control) and treatment with nutrient solution (NS). The results showed a significant growth enhancement of the plants using HWG and PF across the two soils. Sucrose and total sugar content in the roots were high in NS-treated plants and correlated to root growth in HNC soil. Traits related to protein composition, including nitrogen, peptide, and RuBisCO contents, were enhanced in PBB-treated plants (mostly for HWG and PF at 2 g/kg soil) by 100% and >250% in HNC and LNC, respectively, compared to control. The transcriptomic analysis revealed that genes associated with ribosomes and photosynthesis were upregulated in the leaf samples of plants treated with either HWG or PP compared to the control. Furthermore, genes associated with the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites were largely down-regulated in root samples of HWG or PF-treated plants. Thus, the PBBs enhanced protein-related traits in the plants through a higher transcription rate of genes related to protein- and photosynthesis, which resulted in increased plant growth, especially when added in certain amounts (2 g/kg soil). However, sucrose accumulation in the roots of sugar beet seemed to be related to the easy availability of nitrogen.


agro-wastes; protein-based biostimulants; hydrolyzed wheat gluten; potato protein; sugar beet; growth; physiology and transcriptomic analysis

Published in

International Journal of Molecular Sciences
2023, Volume: 24, number: 11, article number: 9720