Effect of clone selection, nitrogen supply, leaf damage and mycorrhizal fungi on stilbene and emodin production in knotweed

Kovárová, Marcela; Frantík, Tomáš; Koblihová, Helena; Bartuňková, Kristýna; Nývltová, Zora; Vosátka, Miroslav
January 2011
BMC Plant Biology;2011, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p98
Academic Journal
Background: Fallopia japonica and its hybrid, F. xbohemica, due to their fast spread, are famous as nature threats rather than blessings. Their fast growth rate, height, coverage, efficient nutrient translocation between tillers and organs and high phenolic production, may be perceived either as dangerous or beneficial features that bring about the elimination of native species or a life-supporting source. To the best of our knowledge, there have not been any studies aimed at increasing the targeted production of medically desired compounds by these remarkable plants. We designed a two-year pot experiment to determine the extent to which stilbene (resveratrol, piceatannol, resveratrolosid, piceid and astringins) and emodin contents of F. japonica, F. sachalinensis and two selected F. xbohemica clones are affected by soil nitrogen (N) supply, leaf damage and mycorrhizal inoculation. Results: 1) Knotweeds are able to grow on substrates with extremely low nitrogen content and have a high efficiency of N translocation. The fast-spreading hybrid clones store less N in their rhizomes than the parental species. 2) The highest concentrations of stilbenes were found in the belowground biomass of F. japonica. However, because of the high belowground biomass of one clone of F. xbohemica, this hybrid produced more stilbenes per plant than F. japonica. 3) Leaf damage increased the resveratrol and emodin contents in the belowground biomass of the non-inoculated knotweed plants. 4) Although knotweed is supposed to be a nonmycorrhizal species, its roots are able to host the fungi. Inoculation with mycorrhizal fungi resulted in up to 2% root colonisation. 5) Both leaf damage and inoculation with mycorrhizal fungi elicited an increase of the piceid (resveratrol-glucoside) content in the belowground biomass of F. japonica. However, the mycorrhizal fungi only elicited this response in the absence of leaf damage. Because the leaf damage suppressed the effect of the root fungi, the effect of leaf damage prevailed over the effect of the mycorrhizal fungi on the piceid content in the belowground biomass. Conclusions: Two widely spread knotweed species, F. japonica and F. xbohemica, are promising sources of compounds that may have a positive impact on human health. The content of some of the target compounds in the plant tissues can be significantly altered by the cultivation conditions including stress imposed on the plants, inoculation with mycorrhizal fungi and selection of the appropriate plant clone.


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