Amino Acid Biostimulants for Plant Growth
Keratin or collagen are some of the proteins that you’ve probably heard about but don’t really understand what they are.
Keratin is an important protein that provides support and protection. The health of skin, hair, and nails depends on the amount of keratin present in the body. Similarly, the collagen protein is responsible for forming connective tissue.
Proteins are made up of amino acids.
The term “amino acids” was commonly seen on drink mixes and sports nutrition powder. Amino acids are significantly important for humans as well as plants.
Why, Let’s take a look.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Proteins are required for the growth and development of organisms. Proteins are essential for cell structure, enzymatic activity, and hormones, and amino acids are the raw materials used to synthesize them in both humans and plants. Even humans’ best source for amino acids is plants. As we all know, soybeans are a healthy source of protein.
Do you know the scientific name of Soybean?
It is Glycine max, because soybean contains the highest level of glycine amino acid.
Let’s explore the role of amino acids in plants and how they contribute to plant growth and development.
What are amino acids?
Amino acids are organic compounds primarily composed of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen. They are the building blocks of proteins, and proteins are essential for the existence of living cells. There are 20 different amino acids that occur naturally in proteins.
For their growth and development, plants need amino acids. Plants use amino acids to build proteins that are needed for many biochemical processes. Amino acids are also a source of energy for plants. When plants don’t have enough nitrogen available, they will use amino acids as a source of nitrogen. This can lead to stunted growth and decreased yields.
Proteins are important for many functions in plants, including cell growth and division, metabolism, and stress response. Plants can synthesize all 20 of these amino acids, but some must be supplied in the diet. The amino acids that cannot be synthesized by plants and must be obtained from the diet are called “essential amino acids,” while non-essential amino acids can be produced by plants.
How do plants synthesize amino acids?
Plants can synthesise amino acids by obtaining carbon and oxygen from the air, hydrogen from water, and nitrogen from the soil. By combining these key elements, plants produce amino acids via complex biochemical pathways such as photosynthesis.
In plants, amino acids are synthesized using enzymes. Enzymes are used to catalyse the reactions. The first step in amino acid synthesis is the formation of intermediates called keto acids. These intermediates are then converted into amino acids by a process called transamination.
What role do amino acids play in plants?
Amino acids play a vital role in plant function and health. They are involved in the biosynthesis of proteins, enzymes, hormones, and other essential molecules required for proper plant growth and development. Additionally, amino acids are essential for the uptake and utilization of minerals and other nutrients, and some are involved in photosynthesis while others help to transport nutrients around the plant. Amino acids also play a role in regulating gene expression and cell signaling.
Without adequate amino acids, plants would be unable to grow and thrive.
Amino acid as chelating agent –
Glycine is the smallest amino acid, and because of its small size, it penetrates plant tissues easily. This quality makes glycine an ideal chelating agent.
Chelates are molecules whose shells are formed around a metal or mineral. Often, the metal or mineral is easily linked to or reacts with other chemicals in the environment. The amino acids form a shell around the mineral, and then the metal or mineral can be taken up by the plant and not lost to the environment.
There are many chelating agents, both natural and synthetic, but amino acid-formed chelates offer something synthetic chelates do not. Amino acid chelates are completely used by the plants—the shell and the mineral.
Because glycine is the smallest amino acid, it naturally makes the smallest chelated molecules that pass readily through plant tissues. Once inside the plant, the mineral or metal (e.g., calcium, zinc, manganese, magnesium, etc.) is released, and the leftover amino acids that formed the protective shell are either used by the plant directly as amino acids or further broken down into water-soluble nitrogen.
Amino acid chelates, particularly those containing the amino acids glutamic acid and glycine, have a significant impact on calcium uptake by roots. Calcium tends to react with phosphates and sulphates in soil and hydroponics, precipitating out of solution as lime scale. Lime scale makes calcium unavailable to the plant.
Lime scale can clog pumps, drip tapes, and irrigation lines over time, which is a constant concern for growers. Amino acid chelates are amino acid shells that form like a claw around calcium ions, preventing calcium from reacting with other minerals in the water to form lime scale.
Simultaneously, glutamic acid and glycine amino acids stimulate root cells to open calcium ion channels, allowing plants to absorb calcium ions thousands to millions of times faster than through simple osmosis.
Amino acids in photosynthesis –
Plants synthesise carbohydrates through photosynthesis. A low photosynthesis rate implies slow growth, which leads to plant death. Chlorophyll is the molecule responsible for light energy absorption.
Glycine and Glutamic Acid are essential metabolites in the formation of vegetable tissue and the synthesis of chlorophyll. These Amino Acids aid in increasing chlorophyll concentration in the plant, resulting in greater photosynthesis. This results in lush green crops.
Amino acids as a protector –
Amino acids also help to protect plants from insects and disease. Weak plants have extra water between their cell walls, which allows sucking insects and fungal pathogens easy access. Plants that have extra pectin between their cell walls are more resistant to attacks, as they have a physical barrier against invaders.
When plants are attacked by insects or other pathogens, calcium release, initiates a chain reaction that results in the production of secondary metabolites that repel the attackers. Hence, giving plants amino acid-chelated calcium can help strengthen their natural immune system.
Amino acids as precursors –
Amino acids are phytohormone and growth substance precursors or activators.
L – Methionine is a precursor of ethylene as well as growth factors like spermine and spermidine, both of which are synthesised from 5 – Adenosyl Methionine. The growth factor helps in strengthen the microbial cell walls. Hence, contribute to soil fertility by maintain maicrobial equilibrium.
Tryptophan is a molecule that acts as a precursor to the plant growth hormone indole acetic acid (IAA). IAA regulates the growth and development processes of plants, such as cell division, cell elongation, tissue differentiation, and apical dominance.
L – Arginine stimulates the production of flower and fruit hormones.
L-Proline promotes pollen fertility.
L-Lysine, L-Methionine, and L-Glutamic acid are some essential amino acids for pollination. These amino acids increase pollen germination and pollinic tube length.
L- Glutamic Acid and L- Aspartic Acid form the rest of the amino acids by transamination.
L – Proline primarily affect the plant’s hydric balance, strengthening the cellular walls and increasing resistance to adverse climatic conditions.
L – Alanine, L – Valine, and L – Leucine contribute to improved fruit quality.
L – Histidine promotes proper fruit ripening.
Amino Acid Bio-Stimulants
During their growth in a healthy and organic soil, the rhizospheric microorganisms break down and digest organic matter to get energy and nutrition. They produce an enzyme such as protease that breaks down and digests the organic matter. The enzyme protease degrades large protein molecules into small amino acids that can be absorbed by roots. This process of digesting protein by an enzyme is called enzymatic hydrolysis. The enzymatic hydrolysis process preserves the chirality of the amino acid molecules.
Amino acids produced by enzymatic hydrolysis have a left-handed orientation and are known as L-amino acids. This L-amino acid is easily absorbed by plant cells because the natural biological structure, or chirality, of the amino acid molecules is preserved. Synthetic amino acids are produced by acid or alkaline hydrolysis. Synthetic amino acids have a right-handed orientation called d-amino acids. These d-amino acids are not biologically active.
Amino acids play many vital roles in plant metabolism, including being precursors for proteins, enzymes, and other biomolecules. Some amino acids are essential for plants, meaning they cannot be synthesized by the plant and must be obtained from the diet. In addition to their role in metabolism, amino acids are also important signalling molecules in plants. Proper nutrition is essential for plant growth and development, and amino acids are an important part of a balanced diet for plants.
Amino acids are essential for both healthy plants and healthy people. Use amino acid fertilisers and chelated minerals on your crops to produce healthy plants. As healthy plants make healthy individuals, and amino acids benefit both humans and plants.
Check Peptech Biosciences Amino Based Biostimulant Range at https://www.peptechbio.com/product-category/biostimulants/