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Physiological response of liquorice to NH4+ and NO3--N nutrition in different culture systems

Ahmad Estaji, Hamid Reza Roosta, Mahmoud Raghami


Background: Evaluation of root medicinal plant response to nutrition is difficult in field due to some soil and environmental factors. Plant nutrition, especially nitrogen which mostly absorbs as ammonium (NH4+) and nitrate (NO3-), is one of the most important factors in controlled environments which influences plant growth. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of nitrogen form on the physiological and active substances of liquorice in different culture systems.

Materials and Methods: To compare growth, physiological and osmotic response of liquorice plant, a completely randomized design was applied with a factorial arrangement of two factors: cultural systems (aeroponic, nutrient film technique (NFT), substrate culture and soil culture) and nitrogen forms (NH4+, NO3- and NO3-+NH4+) at three replication.

Results: Results indicated that high level of NH4+ increased osmotic adjustments, total phenolic compounds (TPC) and total flavonoid (TF) content in leaf and root of liquorice in all culture systems. NH4+ also enhanced phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL), antioxidant enzymes activity, glutamine synthetase (GS) activity and free radical scavenging activity in comparison with NO3- or NO3-+NH4+ treatments. By contrast, growth, starch and nitrate reductase activity (NR) decreased under NH4+ treatment in both organs. All parameters mentioned above were significantly affected by cultural systems and applying NO3-+NH4+ caused the best performance of liquorice.

Conclusion: Plant grown in all culture systems positively responded to NO3-+NH4+ treatment in order of: aeroponic> NFT> substrate culture> soil culture. Our results confirmed that liquorice plant could produce higher levels of phenolic, flavonoids, and antioxidants activity in hydroponic systems.

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