Transcriptomic changes induced by applications of a commercial extract of Ascophyllum nodosum on tomato plants

Sci Rep. 2022 May 16;12(1):8042. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-11263-z.


Extracts of Ascophyllum nodosum are commonly used as commercial biostimulants in crop production. To further understand the seaweed extract-induced phenomena in plants, a transcriptomic study was conducted. RNA-seq differential gene expression analysis of tomato plants treated with a commercial A. nodosum extract formulation (Stimplex) revealed the up-regulation of 635 and down-regulation of 456 genes. Ontology enrichment analysis showed three gene categories were augmented, including biological processes, cellular components, and molecular functions. KEGG pathway analysis revealed that the extract had a strong influence on the expression of genes involved in carbon fixation, secondary metabolism, MAPK-signalling, plant hormone signal transduction, glutathione metabolism, phenylpropanoid and stilbenoid metabolism, and plant-pathogen interactions. qRT-PCR validation analysis using 15 genes established a strong correlation with the RNA sequencing results. The activities of defence enzymes were also significantly enhanced by seaweed extract treatment. Furthermore, AN-SWE treated tomato plants had significantly higher chlorophyll and growth hormone content and showed improved plant growth parameters and nutrient profiles than the control. It is postulated that seaweed extract-induced gene regulation was responsible for favourable plant responses that enabled better growth and tolerance to stress conditions. This study provides evidence at the transcriptomic level for the positive effects of foliar application of the Ascophyllum nodosum extract (Stimplex) observed in treated tomato plants.

MeSH terms

  • Ascophyllum*
  • Lycopersicon esculentum* / genetics
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Growth Regulators / pharmacology
  • Transcriptome


  • Plant Extracts
  • Plant Growth Regulators