Prof. P. C. Mishra Felicitation Volume
Paper presented in
National Seminar on Ecology Environment &
25 - 27 January, 2013
Deptt. of Environmental Sciences,
Sambalpur University, Sambalpur
ISSN: 0974 - 0376
Save Nature to Survive
: Special issue, Vol. III:
AN INTERNATIONAL QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
D. Mohanty et al.
23 - 26
SEAWEED LIQUID FERTILIZER (SLF) AND ITS ROLE IN
D. MOHANTY1, S. P. ADHIKARY* AND G. N. CHATTOPADHYAY2
1Centre for Biotechnology, Institute of Science, Visva - Bharati, Santineketan, West Bengal – 731 235
2Soil testing laboratory, Institute of Agriculture, Visva - Bharati, Sriniketan, West Bengal – 731 236
The macro-algae inhabiting the intertidal zones of estuaries, lagoons and in the
seas across the world play an important role in the marine ecosystems. The saline
nature of the environment favours the growth of certain macro-algae known as
the seaweeds. These organisms are important renewable bio-resources of the
seas. Many of them are used as food, preparation of several industrial products
and also as a raw material for fertilizer for amendment in the crop fields as liquid
fertilizer or compost for increasing productivity. The major uses of seaweeds are
(i) production of phyto - chemicals such as agar-agar, carrageen and alginate
(Kaliaperumal and Uthirasivan, 2011) and (ii) as food for human consumption as
green vegetable, salad and also in the form of jelly, jam, chocolates and pickles
(Krishnamurthy et al., 1981). Apart from that seaweeds are used as raw for
cosmetics (Fujimura et al., 2002) and medicine (Maeda et al., 2007).
Occurrence of Seaweeds
Seaweeds occur attached to the sea-bed principally in the intertidal zones where
adequate light can penetrate the water column for supporting their growth. Among
the environmental factors light, temperature, salinity, water motion and nutrient
availability are the major factors affecting their growth in the natural habitats.
Seaweeds grow in diverse light regimes. The water quality and flood of tides have
profound effects on the quantity and quality of light that reaches the seaweeds.
Basing on the capture of light energy three kinds of pigments are involved in
photosynthesis i.e. chlorophyll a and/or b, phycobiliproteins and carotenoids.
Larkum and Barrett (1983) have distinguished three groups of seaweeds on the
basis of presence of these pigments. These are of three major divisions, brown
algae (Phaeophyta), red algae (Rhodophyta) and green algae (Chlorophyta).
Seaweed requires inorganic carbon, water, light and various minerals ions for
photosynthesis and growth. Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium,
Magnesium, Sulfur, Iron, Manganese, Copper, Zinc, Molybdenum, Sodium,
Chlorine, Boron, Cobalt found in the sea are suitable for growth of seaweeds.
Some seaweed requires trace amounts of one or two organic carbon compounds
or vitamins for their growth. Vitamin B-12 is also required by seaweeds for their
growth which is present in the seawater in a trace (Lobban and Harrison, 1994).
Salinity in the open sea surface is generally 30-34 ppt but certain seas have
markedly higher or lower salinities, because of evaporation and freshwater influx
which regulate the type of seaweed to occur. Many seaweeds show changes in
the metabolic and ionic concentration in response to the salinity changes of
seawater (Reed and Collins, 1980).
Distribution of Seaweeds in India
Along the coastline of India, the littoral and sub-littoral rocky areas support growth
of different types of macro-algae. Luxuriant growth of seaweeds has been reported
along the South-east coast of Tamil Nadu from Mandapam to Kanyakumari, Gujarat
coast, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar islands. Fairly rich seaweed
Save Nature to Survive
Seaweeds or marine macro-algae are impor-
tant renewable plant resources occurring in
the seas, brackish waters and lagoons across
the globe. Application of liquid extract from
these organisms as foliar spray and/or seed
treatment showed positive result on enhance-
ment of vegetative growth and yield of several
crops. In addition they increase the biochemi-
cal constituents of plants and possess environ-
mental stress mitigating potential. Amendment
of seaweed liquid fertilizer (SLF) to soils im-
proves the soil health by enhancing the micro-
nutrient quantity and quality, and microbial
activity. The research work carried out so far
on the beneficial role of SLF in agriculture has
been reviewed. The seaweed resources of the
Indian coast and the methods so far followed
for preparation of SLF and their mode of ap-
plication to crops is presented.
PHARMACOLOGICAL EFFICACY OF MEDICINAL PLANTS
beds were reported in the vicinity of Bombay, Ratnagiri, Goa,
Karwar, Varkala, Kovalam, Vizhinjam, Visakhapatnam and
few other places such as Chilka and Pulicat lake (Thivy, 1960;
Kaliaperumal et al., 1987). Rao (1969) gave an account of
distribution of most important agar and aigin - yielding
seaweeds, Gracilaria, Gelidiella, Sargassum and Turbinaria
from Mandapam cost of Tamil Nadu. Sahu and Adhikary
(1999) have reported the occurrence of seaweed in the Chilika
lake, Odisha in different season for a period of over 15 years.
There are mainly two groups of seaweeds found in the lake.
These belong to Chlorophyta and Rhodophyta. Of these three
are widely occurring (Chaetomorpha linum, Enteromorpha
intestinalis and Enteromorpha compressa), one commonly
occurring (Gracilaria verrucosa) and one less commonly
occurring species (Ulva lactuca) (Rath and Adhikary, 2005).
Details of the occurrence of seaweeds at different locations in
the coastal region of India is given in Fig.1.
Seaweed Liquid Fertilizer
Seaweed and its derived products are used as fertilizer in the
coastal areas throughout the globe. In India it is used for
coconut plantations especially in Tamil Nadu and Kerala
(Kalimuthu et al., 1987). The high amount of water soluble
potash, other mineral and trace elements present in seaweeds
are readily absorbed by plants and they control nutrient
deficiency in plants. Carbohydrates and other organic matter
present in seaweeds alter the nature of the soil and improve
its moisture retaining capacity. Hence, large quantities of
seaweeds including sea grasses such as Cymodocea,
Diplanthera,Enhalus and Halophila are used as manure in all
parts of the country either directly or in form of compost.
Thivy (1960) studied the application of seaweed as manure
on vegetables and field crops and the performance of the
seaweed manure was found to be significantly better than
that of farm yard manure due to the easy decomposability of
its carbonaceous matter and presence of micro-nutrients. The
use of seaweed manure in conjunction with the inorganic
fertilizers has been found to be better than the other organic
input for the growth and development of plant (Kaliaperumal,
2000). An experimental field trial report of CMFRI (Central
Marine Fisheries Research Institute), Mandapam showed that
by using 3month old Hypnea and cowdung compost on
Bhendi crop gave 73% higher yield than that of control.
Seaweeds are not only used as compost but can also be used
as a liquid fertilizer. Liquid seaweed extract when applied to
seed, soil or sprayed on crops it increased seed germination
percentage, nutrient uptake, growth (Immanuel and
Subramanian, 1999) and yield of crops (Anantharaj and
Venkatesalu, 2002). The diluted liquid seaweed extract also
enhanced the plant’s defence against diseases and increases
salt (Jayaraman et al., 2011) and drought tolerance (Kumar
and Mohan, 2000). An adequate amount of growth promoting
hormones and micronutrients present in seaweed makes them
an excellent fertilizer. Unlike chemical fertilizer, seaweed
extract are biodegradable, non-toxic, non-polluting and non-
hazardous to human (Dhargalkar and Pereia 2005). It is well
known that chemical fertilizers degrade the fertility of the soil
by making it acidic, rendering it unsuitable for rising crops,
however, seaweed extract besides increasing the soil fertility
increases the moisture holding capacity and supplies
adequate trace metals improving the soil structure. Fertilizers
differ from plant growth regulators differ from fertilizers in several
ways. While the growth regulators alter cell division, root and
shoot elongation, initiation of flowering and other metabolic
function, the fertilizers simply supply minerals needed for the
nutrition and normal growth of the plant. Therefore, Seaweed
Liquid Fertilizer (SLF), a blend of both plat growth regulators
and organic nutrient input is eco friendly promoting
sustainable productivity and maintaining the soil health.
Preparation, Mode of Application and Growth Promoting
Role of Seaweed Liquid Fertilier\(Slf)
Seaweed extracts exhibit growth stimulating property on crop
plants. Hence its formulation can be used as a bio-stimulant in
agriculture. Bio-stimulant is defined as a ‘material’ other than
fertilizer that promotes the growth and yield attribute property
of the plants when applied in a small quantity during a crop
cycle. The biostimulant present in seaweed extract increase
the vegetative growth (10%), the leaf chlorophyll content (11%),
the stomata density (6.5%), photosynthetic rate and the fruit
production (27%) of the plant (Spinelli et al., 2010). In spite of
the proven capability of SLF on growth and yield promotion of
various crops, the extraction procedure from seaweeds, its
concentration and mode of application has not been
standardized. The liquid seaweed extracts from seaweeds are
usually prepared by hydrolyzing the material under pressure,
however, the preparation may varies from species to species
depending upon the amount of dried material available. It’s
method of extraction significantly differs from person to person
and also the mode of application to crops. Details of the
protocols so far developed and used in agriculture are given
in Table 1. Seaweed extracts are used in several ways, such as
drench in soil during transplantation, during field preparation
(Lingakumar et al., 2002), seed treatment (Immanuel and
Subramanian, 1999) or as foliar application. Foliar application
is spraying of nutrients to leaves and stems where they are
absorbed by the plants (Sethi and Adhikary 2008). Foliar
applications of liquid fertilizer supply the plant with nutrients
more rapidly than methods involving uptake by root due to
seed/root treatment. Growers, therefore, can apply SLF as foliar
treatment to quickly correct nutrient deficiencies. Foliar
treatment has some drawbacks, mainly due to the structure of
the leaf and the temporary nature of the nutrient supply. Leaves,
particularly those with thick cuticle, have low absorption rates.
Therefore, multiple applications of liquid fertilizers are
necessary to supply a sufficient quantity of the nutrients to the
plants. Further, once applied, foliar nutrients may be washed
off by rain or irrigation water before the plant absorbs them.
To counter this loss, surfactants can be used to increase the
efficiency of penetration of the leaf surface and the duration of
the sprays on the leaf be increased depending upon the
situation. At certain cases application of high nutrient
concentrations in foliar spray cause severe leaf damage due to
phytotoxicity. To avoid this situation, repeated applications of
dilute formulations, therefore, is necessary to supply the plant’s
nutrient requirements without damaging the foliage. Since there
are different types of seaweed extracts available in the market,
it is important for the farmer/grower to know the type of species
used in preparation of SLF and how to properly use it for
specific crops. The timing, dosage and frequency of application
are very important when dealing with seaweed extract.
Application rate and frequency may vary based on location,
time of season, soil type and crop. Depending on the stage of
plant growth and the type of crop, a grower may have different
results on which seaweed extract they use. Proper application
is important because higher concentration of seaweed extract
may damage the plant resulting loss in yields (Spinelli et al.,
2010). In an experiment with cluster beans, it was found that
by the use of 1.5% Sargassum wightii and 1.0% of Ulva lactuca
growth was increased but the higher concentrations retarded
the plant growth due to stress and wilting of leaves (Ramya et
al., 2010). When dealing with the effect of SLF on seed
germinations in crops, red seaweed, green seaweed and brow
seaweed also yielded slightly different results due to differences
in the chemical constituent between the species (Demir et al.,
2006). A diagrammatic representation of various mode of
application of seaweed liquid fertilizer to crop plants and their
effect through possible mechanisms is given in Fig. 2.
Table 1: Comparative analysis of Seaweed Liquid Fertilizer (SLF) preparation by various scientific groups
SLF Preparation protocol Reference
Sargassum wightii, 500g powder of Seaweed was extracted in a soxhlet apparatus %SLF.Immanuel and
Gelidella aerosa,for 8h in petroleum ether for 50ºC. 250mg of the crude paste was dissolved Subramanian, 1999
Ulva lactucain 5mL of acetone and 245mL of water and centrifuged.
The supernatant was considered as 100
Sargassum plgiophyllum,100g of powdered seaweed soaked and boiled in 100mL Anantharaj and
Venkatasalu 2001, Ashok
Padina pavonia,Caulerpa of water and the extract was considered as 100% SLF. et al., 2004
Gracilaria corticata,Caulerpa 10 g of Seaweed powder mixed with 200mL of tap water andThangam et al., 2003
sclpeliformis autoclaved for 30 minute, cooled, centrifuged and supernatant was
dried at 60ºC for 48h. The dried seaweed extract considered as 100% SLF.
Spyridia hypnoides100g of seaweed powder was boiled in 100mL of tapKumar et al., 2004
water and made the volume 100mL. Total extract considered as 100 % SLF.
Laurencia obtuse,Hypnea 10g of dried powder was soaked in 1lt of sterile water and boiled atThevanathan et al.,
musciformis,Pandina 120ºC for 15 minute in a pressure cooker. The extract was cooled and2005a, b, c
tetrastomatica filtered through a cheese cloth and the filtrate was used as 100% SLF.
Sargassum wighti1Kg of seaweed cut in to small pieces and boiled with 1L of Sivasankari et al., 2006
distilled water and filtered. The filtrate was taken as 100%.
Sargassum polycystum 500g of Seaweed powder was boiled 1000mL of tap waterRamamoorthy et al., 2006
for 30 minutes and made the volume 500mL. The filtrate considered as 100%.
Sargassum polycystum,Ulva 500 g powder seaweeds soaked in 100mL of ethyl alcohol forRamamoorthy and Sujatha
lactucaTurbinaria conoides 12h and the residue was boiled with 200mL of distilled water for 30minute,2007
cooled and filtered. The alcohol and water constituent was mixed and the
volume was made up to 50mL with water and considered as 100% SLF.
Chaetomorpha linum, 10g of powder soaked in 100mL of distilled water followed by autoclavingSethi and Adhikary 2008,
Gracilaria verrucosa for 30 minute. The autoclaved materials were filtered after cooling through2009
a cheese cloth and the extract was treated as 100%.
Kappaphycus alvarazii The fresh material were homogenized by a grinder at ambientRathore et al., 2009
temperature, filtered and stored. These filtrate was taken as 100%
SLF.2.5-15% diluted SLF was used.
Sargassum polycystum 1 Kg of fresh chopped seaweed boiled with 1liter ofErulan et al., 2009
distilled water for 1 hour and then filtered. The filtrate was taken as 100% SLF.
Sargassum wightii 500g of dry powder soaked in 100mL of ethyl alcohol for 12h the residue ofJothinayagi 2009
the extract was boiled with 300ml of distilled water for 30 minute and filtered.
The volume was made up to 500mL with distilled water and known as 100%.
Gracilaria corticata, 50g of powder was soaked and boiled in 50mL of distilled water for onePise and Sabale, 2010
Ulva faciata,Sargassum h and the filtered through muslin cloth and the filtrate volume was made
ilicfolium up to 50mL and these extract was treated as 100% extract.
Sargassum johnstonii500g of seaweed powder was soaked in 5L of water and heated for Kumari et al., 2011
45 min at 60ºC. The filter extract was cooled and recovered about 3L
and taken as 10 % SLF. From these extract 0.1-8% concentrations was used.
Pandina pavonia, 100g powder were soaked in 500 mL of distilled water and boiled forBai et al., 2011, Kumar
Dictyota dichotoma 60 minute and filtered. The resulting cooled extract was taken as 100% SLF.and Sahoo, 2011
Effect of Seaweed Liquid Fertilizer on Plant Growth
Seaweeds have been in used as a food and manure for
plantation crops by coastal people in many countries
(Kaliperumal et al., 1987). Recent research suggests that
application of seaweed extract as seed treatment and/or foliar
spray helps significant growth of plants. The extract contains
micro-nutrients, auxins and cytokinins and other growth
promoting substances (Spinelli et al., 2010). These hormones
play an important role in enhancement of cell size and cell
division, and together they complement each other as
cytokinins are effective in shoot generation and auxins in root
development, while micro-nutrients improve soil health (Liu
and Lijun, 2011). The amount of plant growth regulators like
auxin and cytokinin contents was recorded up to 150ì g/L
and 235ì g/L respectively in Sargassum wightii (Sridhar and
Rengasamy, 2010a). Seaweed extract is viewed superior
because the organic matters aids in retaining moisture and
D. MOHANTY et al.,
PHARMACOLOGICAL EFFICACY OF MEDICINAL PLANTS
Figure 2: A diagrammatic representation of the various modes of
application of seaweed liquid fertilizer to crop plants and their
effect through possible mechanisms
Figure 1: Map of coastal region of India showing occurrence of
different seaweeds at specific locations along its coast
minerals needed for the plants (Zodape et al., 2011). The
liquid extract of Ulva lactuca, Sargassum wightii and Gelidella
acerosa induced maximum germination, root and shoot
growth in Ragi (Immanuel and Subramanian, 1999). Extract of
Enteromorpha intestinalis increased seed germination, root,
shoot length and chlorophyll content of Sesamum indicum
(Gandhiyappan and Perumal 2001). Gracilaria edulis extract
supported higher growth, fruiting and flowering in
Ablemoschus esculentus (Ramshubramanian et al., 2004).
When 1% of Gracilaria edulis applied to soil bed maximum
germination, growth and development in Zea mays and
Phaseolus mungo was obtained (Lingakumar et al., 2004).
SLF prepared from Hydroclathrtus and applied to soil drench
exhibited maximum per cent increase in the growth parameters
of Sorghum (Ashok et al., 2004). Sethi and Adhikary (2008)
observed a positive result on the vegetative growth of black
gram, brinjal and tomato when liquid extract from Gracilaria
verucosa and Chaetomorpha linum was applied as foliar spray.
The Growth promoting activity of Mungo was significantly
higher upon application of 1% extract of Gracilaria verucosa
and 2.5% of Chaetomorpha linum in consortium with
Rhizobium culture (Sethi and Adhikary 2009). The aqueous
seaweed extract from Gracilaria edulis when applied to soil
bed in three different concentrations showed increase in the
growth parameters and biomass accumulation in legume
(Lingakumar et al., 2002, 2004, 2006). Sridhar and Rengasamy
(2010 b) studied the effect of the liquid extract from Sargassum
wightii on Arachis hypogaea which showed increase in height
and number of branches of the plant in comparison to
chemical treatment. Kumari et al. (2011) observed the aqueous
extract of Sargassum johnstonii induced significant increase
in vegetative growth of Lycopersicon esculentum. During a
trial with olive trees, seaweed was found beneficial when
combined with other ingredients (treatments N + SLF and N
+ Borax + SLF) to enhance the productivity, oil content and
maturation of the fruits. A study on marigold showed significant
increase in the yield when 1.0% dilution seaweed extract was
added and the fertilizer dose was reduced to 50% (Sridhar
and Rengasamy, 2010a). These studies showed that seaweed
extract works best when combined with other traditional
fertilizers such as FYM and supports the claim that SLF acts as
a natural plant growth regulator.
Effect of Seaweed Liquid Fertilizer on Yield of Crop
Seaweed extracts not only increase the vegetative growth of
the plant but it also triggers the early flowering and fruiting in
crops. A report showed that treatment of seaweed extract
increase length (31.7%), diameter (18.2%) and yield (37.4%)
of Ablemoschus esculentus than the control (Zodape et al.,
2008). The liquid extract of Hypnea musciformis, Laurencia
obtusa, Padina tetrastromatica and Stoechospermum
mariginatum acted as a biostimulant to increase the
productivity and quality of tea (Thevanathan et al., 2005 a).
Foliar application of aqueous extract of Ulva lacuta, Turbinaria
conoides and Sargassum polycystum gives positive result on
the growth and yield of pea and black gram (Ramamoorty et
al., 2006 a, b, 2007). Sivasankari et al. (2006) showed higher
yield of cowpea by applying liquid extract of Turbinaria
decurrens. Xavier et al. (2007) used Ulva fasciata and Caulerpa
racemosa extract on beans producing appreciable yield of
the crop. Sridhar and Rengasamy (2010 b) used liquid extract
Figure 3: Pi-chart showing the percentage of publications on the
field trials so far carried out on the application of seaweed liquid
fertilizer on various crops
Please send original file, i.e. Excel format
of Sargassum wightii and Ulva lactuca in field in combination
with 50% dose of chemical fertilizer and found that the yield
enhancement capacity of only SLF for Arachis hypogaea was
the same as that of 100% recommended doses of chemical
fertilizer. Zodape et al. (2011) reported that foliar application
of liquid extract of Kappaphycus alvarezii triggers the yield
potency of Lycopersicon esculentum. Bai et al. (2011) applied
the liquid extract of Pandina pavonia and got maximum yield
of pulses. Kumar and Sahoo (2011) reported higher yield in
Triticum aestivum upon foliar application of 20% extract of
Sargassum wightii. Pi-chart showing the percentage of
publications on field trials so far conducted on the application
of seaweed liquid fertilizer on various crops is given in Fig.3.
Effect of Slf on the Biochemical Composition of Crop Plants
Kumari et al. (2011) observed a linear increase in the pigment
concentrations, protein, total soluble sugar, reducing sugar,
starch, phenols, lycopen and vitamin C content of
Lycopersicon esculentum upon treatment with liquid extract
of Sargassum sp. The liquid extract of Ulva fasciata, Sargassum
ilicifolium and Gracilaria corticata influenced the
photosynthetic pigments, carbohydrate, proteins and free
aminoacids content of Trigonella foenum - graecum (Pise and
Sable 2010). Different concentrations of liquid extract of Ulva
lacuta, Caulerpa scalpelliformis, Padina tetrastromatica and
Sargassum linearifolium increased the amount of protein,
carbohydrate, and aminoacid of Brassica nigra (Kalidass et
al., 2010). Application of liquid extract from Ulva lcuta and
Sargassum sp. to the soil bed promoted the photosynthetic
pigment composition, soluble protein and starch, aminoacid
content of Phaseolus mungo, Zea mays and Cyamopsis
tetragonoloba (Lingakumar et al., 2004, 2006). The
biochemical composition of Vigna radiata was increased by
applying 10% liquid extract of Sargassum wightii (Sivasankari
et al., 2006). Ramasubramanian et al. (2004) reported the
effect of seaweed extract of Gracilaria edulis showed an increase
in the pigment concentration, protein and enzyme activity of
Abelmoschus esculentus. Selin et al. (2007 a) in a comparative
study on the impact of the liquid extract of seaweed and sea
grasses of Mandapam coast found promoting the chlorophyll
content of Zea mays. Liquid extract of Padina pavonia helped
in increasing the pigment, total soluble sugar, protein and
lipid content Cyamposis tetragonoloba (Thangam et al.,
2003). Different concentrations of SLF (0.5%, 1%, 2.0%, 2.5%)
when applied to soil bed, enhanced the chlorophyll a, b,
protein, sugar, starch and nitrate reductive activity of Sorghum
(Ashok et al., 2004). Liquid extract of Sargassum polycystum
significantly enhanced the biochemical composition of the
black gram when treated in soil during transplantation
(Ramaoorthy et al., 2006b). Seaweed extract of Gracilaria edulis
when added to soil bed showed positive response on the
photosynthetic pigment, total amino acid, protein and starch
content of Zea mays (Lingakumar et al., 2002). The
biochemical parameters such as photosynthetic pigments,
protein content, sugars, ascorbic acid and nitrate reductase
activity were enhanced when compared to untreated seedlings
of Ablemuscus esculentus (Selin et al., 2007 b). The liquid
extract of Gracilaria edulis showed higher growth and
biochemical characteristic in Ablemoschus esculentus
(Ramshubramanian et al., 2004). Higher cholorophyll,
carbohydrate, and protein content were observed in Dolichos
biflorus seeds by treating with 10% extract of Caulerpa
racemosa and Gracilaria edulis (Anantaraj and Venkatasalu,
Seaweed Liquid Fertilizer on Quality and Fertility of Soils
Application of seaweed extract has been shown to enhance
the moisture holding capacity of the soil. Brown seaweeds are
rich in polysaccharides coupled with their hydrophilic
property which makes the compound important in the
agricultural and pharmaceutical industries. Alginate occurs in
the cell walls of seaweeds as a mixed salt. Alginic acid combine
with ions in soil to form high molecular weight complex that
absorb moisture, swell, retain soil moisture and improve crump
formation resulting in better aeration and capillary activity of
soil pores, which in return stimulates the growth of plant root
system and microbial activity (Gandiyappan and Perumal,
2001). Application of seaweeds and seaweed extract triggers
the growth of beneficial microbes and secretion of soil
conducting substances by these microbes. Seaweed liquid
extract enhanced soil fertility by improving the moisture holding
capacity and also helps in the growth of soil micro-biota. Some
of the beneficial microbes like Rhizobium when applied in
consortium with seaweed extract, it enhanced the early growth
and yield attribute properties in legume plants like Arachis
hypogea and Vigna mungo and the response was 12-25%
higher than that of control (Sethi and Adhikary, 2009).
Environmental Stress Mitigating Role of Slf to Crop Plants
Abiotic stresses such as drought, salinity and higher
temperature are found to reduce the yield of major crops
leading to decrease in the agricultural production worldwide.
However, seaweed extracts were found beneficial in reducing
disease through induction of defence enzymes. Application
of liquid fertilizer from seaweeds was shown to mitigate many
such stress to plants. In carrot application of SLF enhanced
activities of chitinase, B-1-3 flucanase, polyphenol oxidase
and lipoxynase which are factors regulating plant disease.
Similar results were found in cucumber which showed
enhanced activities of various defence-related enzymes
including chitinase, B-1, 3-glucanase, peroxidase, polyphenol
oxidase, phenylalanine ammonia lyase, and lipoxygenase due
to SLF application (Jayaraman et al., 2011). Liquid extract from
two brown marine algae i.e. Pandina pavonica and Sargassum
plagiophyllum showed beneficial effect on drought stress on
black gram (Kumar and Mohan, 2000). The drought stress
caused a decline in the nitrate reductase activity and
chlorophyll content. Recovery from the stress was much faster
in seeds treated with SLF. Effect of liquid extract of Padina
pavonica and Sargassum plagiophyllum exhibited significant
recovery of growth of drought stressed ragi seeds (Kumar and
Mohan, 2003). SLF treated plants showed much faster recovery
of nitrate reductase activity and photosynthetic pigment as
compared to the untreated ones. The liquid extract prepared
from Spyridia hypnoides showed beneficial effect on Oryza
sativa during senescence (Kumar et al., 2004). The effect of
liquid extract from Spyridia hypnoides and Syringodium
isoetifolium on oxidising enzymes in Zea maize during
senescence was also reported. Ramamoorthy et al. (2007)
reported that the application of liquid extract from Ulva lactuca,
D. MOHANTY et al.,
Turbinaria conoides and Sargassum polycystum reduced
ageing of blackgram seeds. The commercial extract from the
brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum was found to reduce
fungal diseases in cucumber (Jayaraman et al., 2011).
Immune Activity of Seaweed Extract
Karthikaidevi et al. (2009) reported that the methanol and
ethanol extract of some commonly occurring green algae like
Codium adherens, Ulva reticulata and Halimeda tuna in Tamil
Nadu were more effective than that of the commercial medicine
against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus sp. There are
also reports that the seaweed species Ulva lactuca, Padina
gymnospora, Sargassum wightii and Gracilaria edulis showed
antibacterial activity and defence mechanism against human
bacterial pathogens Staphylococcus aureus, Vibrio cholerae,
Shigella dysentriae, Shigella bodii, Salmonella paratyphi,
Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Klebsiella pneumonia. The
organic extracts of three marine macroalgae viz.,
Chaetomorpha linum, Enteromorpha compressa and
Polysiphonia subtilissima of Chilika Lake, Odisha showed
specific activity in inhibiting the growth of three Gram-negative
bacteria Shigella flexneri, Vibrio cholerae and Escherichia coli
and two Gram positive bacteria Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus
brevis (Patra et al., 2009). Faten and Emad (2009) reported
that ethanol extract of marine red macroalga, Gracilaria
verrucosa showed antioxidant activity. The liquid extract of
Palmaria palmate, Laminaria setchellii, Macrocystis
integrifolia, Nereocystis leutkeana gave a positive result in
anti-proliforative and antioxidant activity to mammals (Yuan
and Walsh, 2006). The hot-water extract of the seaweed
Sargassum hemiphyllum showed antioxidant and immune-
stimulating activities in mammals (Hwang et al. 2010).
Use of Seaweed in Industry
The principal commercial seaweed products constitute three
hydrocolloids: agar, alginates, and carragenans. Biologically
active compounds such as plant and animal nutritional
supplements are now also identified in the seaweed extract.
Seaweeds as food and seaweed-derived food flavours, colours
and nutrients are also attracting commercial and industrial
attention. The processed food industry is the primary market
for the seaweed hydrocolloids where they serve as texturing
agents. Agar and its derivative products, agarose and
bacteriological agar are now available for preparation of
microbiological media, hence marketed widely. Alginates
continue to be used in textile printing, paper coating and other
relatively low margin industrial applications. However their
use in food offers better industrial profit. Alginate, sometimes
shortened to “algin”, is present in the cell walls of brown
seaweeds and is partly responsible for the flexibility of the
seaweeds. Consequently, brown seaweeds that grow in more
turbulent conditions usually have higher alginate content than
those in calmer waters. While any brown seaweed can be
used as a source of alginate, the actual chemical structure of
the alginate varies from one genus to another and similar
variability is found in the properties of the alginate that is
extracted from the type of seaweed. Since the main application
of alginate are in thicke ning aqueous solutions and forming
gels, its quality is judged on how well it performs in these
uses. A high quality alginate forms strong gels and gives thick
aqueous solutions. Some commonly available brown
seaweeds that fulfil the above criteria are
Ascophyllum, Enteromorpha, Ecklonia, Laminaria, Lessonia
and Sargassum. Now a day’s interest is growing for use of
alginate in controlled drug release and this could develop
into a profitable industrial market. Carragenan has long
enjoyed a small share in the market for the preparation of
toothpaste and has also took part a role in pharmaceuticals
like drug and capsule formulations. Apart from that some of
the major home recipes like jam, jelly, salad and industrial
product like agar-agar and sodium alginate are also derived
from seaweeds. Now more than 25 functioning agar and
alginate industries are situated in different places in Tamil
Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh and
Gujarat (Kaliaperumal, 2000).
Though seaweed and its derived product are increasingly used
in production of agricultural crops, the mechanism of action
of seaweed extract on enhancement of productivity is still
unknown. The recent challenge in sustainable food
production is due to the increasing occurrence of biotic and
abiotic stress as due to climate change, which may lead to
reduction of agricultural productivity globally. Under this
situation SLF may work as a good inducer for sustainability in
agricultural production coupled with maintenance of soil
health. In India seaweeds are not used extensively except for
production of phycocolloids. But being a rich source of
vitamins, minerals and growth promoters, they can be of
immense help to the coastal farmers for their use as a source
of organic fertilizer. Hence there is a need for popularizing the
use of seaweed as health food and liquid organic fertilizer
through mass scale field trials and organization of public
awareness programmes. In this regard, research institutes /
agencies and private entrepreneurs should come forward with
scientific and technical knowledge and marketing expertise.
The farmer of the area where seaweed cultivation is feasible
should be educated about the significance and the benefits
from multifaceted use of seaweeds.
We are thankful to Department of Science and Technology,
SEED Division, Govt. India for financial support through a
research-cum-extention project. We thank the authority of Visva
-Bharati for providing laboratory facility at the Centre for
Biotechnology, Institute of Science and Soil testing Laboratory,
Institute of Agriculture, Santiniketan - Sriniketan campus.
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