University of Tasmania
154733 - Biostimulants alleviate water deficit stress andenhance essential oil productivity.pdf (6.35 MB)

Biostimulants alleviate water deficit stress and enhance essential oil productivity: a case study with savory

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 15:32 authored by Rezaei-Chiyaneh, E, Mahdavikia, H, Alipour, H, Dolatabadian, A, Battaglia, ML, Maitra, S, Matthew HarrisonMatthew Harrison
Water deficit stress exposure frequently constrains plant and agri-food production globally. Biostimulants (BSs) can be considered a new tool in mitigating water deficit stress. This study aimed to understand how BSs influence water deficit stress perceived by savory plants (Satureja hortensis L.), an important herb used for nutritional and herbal purposes in the Middle East. Three BS treatments, including bio-fertilizers [B], humic acid [HA] and foliar application of amino acid [AA], were implemented. Each treatment was applied to savory plants using three irrigation regimes (low, moderate and severe water deficit stress FC100, FC75 and FC50, respectively). Foliar application of AA increased dry matter yield, essential oil (EO) content and EO yield by 22%, 31% and 57%, respectively. The greatest EO yields resulted from the moderate (FC75) and severe water deficit stress (FC50) treatments treated with AA. Primary EO constituents included carvacrol (39-43%), gamma-terpinene (27-37%), alpha-terpinene (4-7%) and p-cymene (2-5%). Foliar application of AA enhanced carvacrol, gamma-terpinene, alpha-terpinene and p-cymene content by 6%, 19%, 46% and 18%, respectively. Physiological characteristics were increased with increasing water shortage and application of AA. Moreover, the maximum activities of superoxide dismutase (3.17 unit mg-1 min-1), peroxidase (2.60 unit mg-1 min-1) and catalase (3.08 unit mg-1 min-1) were obtained from plants subjected to severe water deficit stress (FC50) and treated with AA. We conclude that foliar application of AA under water deficit stress conditions would improve EO quantity and quality in savory.


Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment


Publication title

Scientific Reports



Article number









Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


Nature Publishing Group

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

© 2023 The Author(s) Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Climatological hazards (e.g. extreme temperatures, drought and wildfires); Plant extracts; Climate adaptive plants