Amino acid-based biostimulants and microbial biostimulants promote the growth, yield, and resilience of strawberries in soilless glasshouse cultivation

Published: 23 April 2024| Version 3 | DOI: 10.17632/9fd6g6fpps.3


Our research hypothesis was that the application of the two commercial biostimulants will result in significant improvements in the growth parameters, yield, and resilience of both 'Malling Centenary' and 'Malling Ace' strawberry varieties. We expected to observe increased vegetative growth, higher fruit yield, and enhanced resistance to environmental stress factors in the plants treated with the biostimulants compared to the control group. The study conducted an extensive investigation into the growth and reproductive dynamics of strawberry plants through rigorous data collection protocols. Weekly observations of leaf and crown numbers for four randomly selected plants per replicate offered valuable insights into vegetative growth patterns. Concurrently, at the trial's conclusion, the measurement of crown diameters provided a conclusive evaluation of growth progression. Upon trial completion, plants were carefully uprooted to facilitate comprehensive assessments of biomass. This involved recording both fresh and dry weights of shoots and roots, alongside calculating fresh root/shoot and dry root/shoot ratios, crucial indicators of plant vitality. Furthermore, weekly evaluations of chlorophyll content in selected leaves using a Konica Minolta SPAD-502 shed light on the plants' physiological vigour. In terms of reproductive growth, the study meticulously monitored open flower counts on a weekly basis and systematically evaluated fruit yield throughout the harvesting season. This evaluation included classifying fruits based on morphology, size, and overall appearance, adhering to European Commission guidelines. Additionally, unmarketable fruits underwent detailed classification into subgroups such as small fruits, deformed fruits, and diseased fruits. Furthermore, ripe fruits were sampled to determine total soluble solids content, providing insights into fruit quality. Overall, these meticulous data collection efforts yielded a comprehensive understanding of the growth, physiological responses, and reproductive outcomes of the strawberry plants under scrutiny.


Steps to reproduce

To ensure the transparency and reproducibility of our research, a rigorous approach was adopted for data collection. Vegetative growth parameters were meticulously tracked through weekly recordings of leaf and crown numbers for four randomly selected strawberry plants per replicate, alongside crown diameter measurements at the trial's conclusion. Plant biomass assessments involved the careful uprooting of plants post-trial, followed by the determination of fresh and dry weights for shoots and roots, facilitated by precision balances and standardized drying procedures. Chlorophyll content analysis was conducted weekly using a Konica Minolta SPAD-502, with measurements taken from healthy, actively photosynthesizing young leaves. Reproductive growth evaluations encompassed weekly monitoring of open flowers and systematic fruit yield assessments throughout the harvesting season, accompanied by detailed fruit classification based on morphological criteria. Additionally, ripe fruit samples underwent total soluble solids content analysis using an Atago PAL-1 refractometer. These standardized methods and protocols, supported by specific instruments and tools, ensured the accuracy and reliability of our data, facilitating its reproducibility by future researchers.


Writtle College


Action Research