A Metabolic Choreography of Maize Plants Treated with a Humic Substance-Based Biostimulant under Normal and Starved Conditions

Kgalaletso Othibeng, Lerato Nephali, Anza-Tshilidzi Ramabulana, Paul Steenkamp, Daniel Petras, Kyo Bin Kang, Hugo Opperman, Johan Huyser, Fidele Tugizimana
2021 Metabolites  
Humic substance (HS)-based biostimulants show potentials as sustainable strategies for improved crop development and stress resilience. However, cellular and molecular mechanisms governing the agronomically observed effects of HS on plants remain enigmatic. Here, we report a global metabolic reprogramming of maize leaves induced by a humic biostimulant under normal and nutrient starvation conditions. This reconfiguration of the maize metabolism spanned chemical constellations, as revealed by
more » ... ecular networking approaches. Plant growth and development under normal conditions were characterized by key differential metabolic changes such as increased levels of amino acids, oxylipins and the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) intermediate, isocitric acid. Furthermore, under starvation, the humic biostimulant significantly impacted pathways that are involved in stress-alleviating mechanisms such as redox homeostasis, strengthening of the plant cell wall, osmoregulation, energy production and membrane remodelling. Thus, this study reveals that the humic biostimulant induces a remodelling of inter-compartmental metabolic networks in maize, subsequently readjusting the plant physiology towards growth promotion and stress alleviation. Such insights contribute to ongoing efforts in elucidating modes of action of biostimulants, generating fundamental scientific knowledge that is necessary for development of the biostimulant industry, for sustainable food security.
doi:10.3390/metabo11060403 fatcat:u6sfjexnafbrtbx5ihkb42jnt4