The Multifunctional Role of Chitosan in Horticultural Crops; A Review

Molecules. 2018 Apr 10;23(4):872. doi: 10.3390/molecules23040872.


Chitosan is a naturally occurring compound and is commercially produced from seafood shells. It has been utilized in the induction of the defense system in both pre and post-harvest fruits and vegetables against fungi, bacteria, viruses, and other abiotic stresses. In addition to that, chitosan effectively improves the physiological properties of plants and also enhances the shelf life of post-harvest produces. Moreover, chitosan treatment regulates several genes in plants, particularly the activation of plant defense signaling pathways. That includes the elicitation of phytoalexins and pathogenesis-related (PR) protein. Besides that, chitosan has been employed in soil as a plant nutrient and has shown great efficacy in combination with other industrial fertilizers without affecting the soil's beneficial microbes. Furthermore, it is helpful in reducing the fertilizer losses due to its coating ability, which is important in keeping the environmental pollution under check. Based on exhibiting such excellent properties, there is a striking interest in using chitosan biopolymers in agriculture systems. Therefore, our current review has been centered upon the multiple roles of chitosan in horticultural crops that could be useful in future crop improvement programs.

Keywords: biopolymer; biotic stress; fruits; vegetables.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chitosan / pharmacology*
  • Crops, Agricultural / drug effects*
  • Crops, Agricultural / genetics
  • Crops, Agricultural / growth & development
  • Crops, Agricultural / microbiology
  • Food Storage
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / drug effects
  • Plant Development / drug effects
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology
  • Plant Diseases / prevention & control


  • Chitosan