Kosteletzkya pentacarpos (L.) Ledeb. (seashore mallow) is recognized as an important plant species for several industrial applications, especially in North America and Asia. In Europe, seashore mallow is highly threatened and subject of conservation actions (e.g. reintroduction). In order to define appropriate multipurpose cultivation protocols, suitable for biomass production and for conservation purposes, we investigated the effect of varying levels of soil salt content and nutrient availability on seashore mallow. As expected, seashore mallow had the best performance in terms of growth rate, flowering and fruit production when fertilizer was applied, while salt had only limited effects. Interestingly, seeds produced by fertilized plants showed a lower germination performance and higher mortality than seeds developed from non-fertilized plants. Our results highlight a trade-off between parental plant growth and seed performance, the former being enhanced and the latter being reduced by fertilizer application. The causes of this trade-off are related to a transgenerational maternal effect of fertilizer application that has important implications for seashore mallow cultivation. Biomass production benefits from fertilizer application but if the quality of seeds and the fitness of the next generation are major objectives (e.g. seed production and species conservation), fertilizer application is not recommended.

Fertiliser application positively affects plants performance but reduces seed viability in seashore mallow (Kosteletzkya pentacarpos): implication for biomass production and species conservation.

Brancaleoni, L.
Secondo
;
Marchesini, R.;Gerdol, R.
Ultimo
2017

Abstract

Kosteletzkya pentacarpos (L.) Ledeb. (seashore mallow) is recognized as an important plant species for several industrial applications, especially in North America and Asia. In Europe, seashore mallow is highly threatened and subject of conservation actions (e.g. reintroduction). In order to define appropriate multipurpose cultivation protocols, suitable for biomass production and for conservation purposes, we investigated the effect of varying levels of soil salt content and nutrient availability on seashore mallow. As expected, seashore mallow had the best performance in terms of growth rate, flowering and fruit production when fertilizer was applied, while salt had only limited effects. Interestingly, seeds produced by fertilized plants showed a lower germination performance and higher mortality than seeds developed from non-fertilized plants. Our results highlight a trade-off between parental plant growth and seed performance, the former being enhanced and the latter being reduced by fertilizer application. The causes of this trade-off are related to a transgenerational maternal effect of fertilizer application that has important implications for seashore mallow cultivation. Biomass production benefits from fertilizer application but if the quality of seeds and the fitness of the next generation are major objectives (e.g. seed production and species conservation), fertilizer application is not recommended.
Abeli, T.; Brancaleoni, L.; Marchesini, R.; Orsenigo, S.; Rossi, G.; Gerdol, R.
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