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South African Journal of Science

On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
Print version ISSN 0038-2353

Abstract

ARTHUR, Georgina D. et al. Growth-promoting effects of a seaweed concentrate at various pH and water hardness conditions. S. Afr. j. sci. [online]. 2013, vol.109, n.11-12, pp.1-6. ISSN 1996-7489.

Kelpak® - a liquid seaweed concentrate made from the kelp Ecklonia maxima (Osbeck) Papenfuss - is used as a natural biostimulant to promote rooting and improve yield in crops. Plant-soil environmental conditions and the chemistry of water used for irrigation may affect the efficiency of Kelpak. The effect of pH (pH 4.5, 6.5 and 8.5) and water hardness (200 mg/L and 400 mg/L Ca2+) on the growth-promoting ability of Kelpak was assessed using the mungbean rooting bioassay and in a pot trial with Swiss chard. Kelpak promoted rooting in all the treatments in the mungbean bioassay with maximum rooting generally achieved with 20% Kelpak. With 20% Kelpak, the addition of 200 mg/L and 400 mg/L Ca2+ decreased rooting at pH 4.5, increased rooting at pH 6.5 and did not affect rooting at pH 8.5. A similar trend was observed in the pot trial with Swiss chard: leaf and root (fresh weight) and pigment content (chl a, chl b and carotenoids) improved with the addition of 200 mg/L Ca2+ + 5% Kelpak at pH 6.5 or pH 8.5, while Kelpak was able to partially mask the negative effect of 200 mg/L Ca2+ at pH 4.5. These results suggest that while Kelpak is most effective in neutral pHs, it can be used to promote plant growth in a wide range of pH and water hardness conditions.

Keywords : calcium; mungbean rooting bioassay; natural biostimulants; pot trial; Swiss chard.

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