Urbanization and global climate change have constrained plant development and yield. Utilization of wild gene pool, together with the application of sustainable and eco-friendly agronomic crop improvement strategies, is being focused on to tackle mounting food insecurity issues.
In this aspect, the green seaweed, Ulva flexuosa, was assessed for plant biostimulant potential on cherry tomato, in terms of seed priming effects, nutrition and yield. SEM-EDX analysis of U. flexuosa presented the occurrence of cell wall elements (O, Na, Mg, S, Cl, K and Ca).
The phytochemical analyses of liquid seaweed extract (EF-LSE) revealed the presence of carbohydrates, protein, phenols, flavonoids, saponins, tannins and coumarins. The EF-LSEs were found to stimulate seed germination in a dose-dependent manner, recording higher seed germination, and biomass and growth parameters. The seedlings of treated seeds altered the biochemical profile of the fruit, in terms of TSS (93%), phenol (92%), lycopene (12%) and ascorbic acid (86.8%). The EF-LSEs positively influenced fruit yield (97%).
Henceforth, this investigation brings to light the plant biostimulant potential of the under-utilized seaweed source, U. flexuosa, to be useful as a bio fertilizer in agronomic fields for a cumulative enhancement of crop vigour as well as yields to meet the growing food demands.