Discovery of the biostimulant effect of asparagine and glutamine on plant growth in Arabidopsis thaliana

Front Plant Sci. 2024 Jan 22:14:1281495. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2023.1281495. eCollection 2023.


Protein hydrolysates have gained interest as plant biostimulants due to their positive effects on plant performances. They are mainly composed of amino acids, but there is no evidence of the role of individual of amino acids as biostimulants. In this study we carried out in vitro experiments to monitor the development of Arabidopsis seedlings on amino acid containing media in order to analyze the biostimulant properties of the twenty individual proteinogenic amino acids. We demonstrated that proteinogenic amino acids are not good nitrogen sources as compared to nitrate for plant growth. Biostimulant analyses were based on leaf area measurements as a proxy of plant growth. We developed the Amino Acid Use Efficiency index to quantify the biostimulating effect of individual amino acids in the presence of nitrate. This index allowed us to classify amino acids into three groups, characterized by their inhibiting, neutral, and beneficial effects regarding leaf area. Glutamine and asparagine demonstrated the most significant effects in promoting leaf area in the presence of nitrate supply. The stimulating effect was confirmed by using the L and D enantiomeric forms. Both L-glutamine and L-asparagine stimulated leaf area at low concentrations, emphasizing their biostimulating properties. Our plant growth design and AAUE index pave the way for the identification of other bioactive molecules in protein hydrolysates and for the comparison of biostimulant performances.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; amino acid enantiomer; amino acid use efficiency; in vitro experiment; protein hydrolysate.

Grants and funding

The author(s) declare financial support was received for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. This work has benefited from the support of IJPB’s Plant Observatory technological platforms. The IJPB benefits from the support of Saclay Plant Sciences-SPS (ANR-17-EUR-0007).