Natural biostimulants combine different elicitors that may influence economic properties of herbal crops, such as mint. In a new study, mint (Mentha longifolia L.) plants were subjected to three water levels based on container substrate capacity (CSC; 100% CSC, 70% CSC, and 50% CSC) and/or applications of four biostimulants (CRADLE, Mobilizer, Nanozim De’Lite [ND], and Nanozim NXT [NN]).
ND and NN exhibited higher vegetative growth and root dry weight than the control (without biostimulants) and other treatments. NN produced the highest fresh and dry mint yields under all water levels. Irrigation water-use efficiency (IWUE) of NN was highest (2.78 kg m-3) with 70% CSC, whereas the control produced the lowest IWUE (1.85 kg m-3) with 100% CSC.
Biostimulants boosted physiological and metabolic responses, including gas exchange, leaf water potential, relative water content, and proline accumulation of stressed plants. NN treatment with 70% CSC had the highest essential oil (EO) ratio (3.35%). Under 70% and 50% CSC with NN treatment, the proportion of 1,8-cineol increased and that of pulegone decreased in EOs.
Increased antioxidant activities, reduced H2O2 levels, and increased catalase and superoxide dismutase activities were observed. Applications of ND and NN during water stress conditions increased economic and medicinal properties of mint EOs with applications in the agricultural and pharmaceutical industries.