Polymerization degree-dependent changes in the effects of in vitro chitosan treatments on photosynthetic pigment, protein, and dry matter contents of Ipomoea purpurea

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Morning Glory (Ipomoea purpurea (L.) Roth.) is a climbing plant known for its ornamental properties and ease of cultivation in temperate climates. Quality and colour of flowers and leaves, especially in the production of ornamentals, are important parameters both for producers and for customers. This study aimed to investigate the changes in photosynthetic pigment, protein and dry matter content of in vitro-propagated I. purpurea following chitosan treatment with different polymerization degrees (DP) and to determine the indirect effect of this biopolymer on leaves of the plant. Nodal explants of I. purpurea were cultured in medium supplemented with 5, 10 and 20 mg L−1 concentrations of a chitosan oligomers mixture with a variable degree of polymerization (DP) ranging from 2 to 15 or chitosan polymer with DP of 70. It was found that both oligomeric and polymeric chitosan treatments increased chlorophyll-a contents in the leaves when compared to the chitosan-naïve control group. Polymeric chitosan stimulated chlorophyll-b and carotenoid synthesis more effectively than the oligomer mixture. Also, 10 mg L−1 polymeric chitosan better triggered total protein production and plant dry matter content in I. purpurea. The results of this study showed that, due to their stimulatory effects on photosynthetic pigment, protein and plant dry matter production, chitosan oligomers at low concentration and polymers at moderate concentration might be considered as safe and natural biostimulants for ornamental plants which could affect the plant’s attractiveness and commercial success.

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