Melatonin: Plant Growth Regulator and/or Biostimulator During Stress?

Trends Plant Sci. 2014 Dec;19(12):789-97. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2014.07.006. Epub 2014 Aug 21.


Melatonin regulates the growth of roots, shoots, and explants, to activate seed germination and rhizogenesis and to delay induced leaf senescence. The antioxidant properties of melatonin would seem to explain, at least partially, its ability to fortify plants subjected to abiotic stress. In this Review we examine recent data on the gene-regulation capacity of melatonin that point to many interesting features, such as the upregulation of anti-stress genes and recent aspects of the auxin-independent effects of melatonin as a plant growth regulator. This, together with the recent data on endogenous melatonin biosynthesis induction by environmental factors, makes melatonin an interesting candidate for use as a natural biostimulating treatment for field crops.

Keywords: antioxidant; melatonin; photosynthesis; phytomelatonin; plant growth regulator; plant stress; rhizogenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / physiology
  • Melatonin / metabolism*
  • Photosynthesis / physiology
  • Plant Growth Regulators / metabolism*


  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Melatonin