Nutritional and Nutraceutical Value of Vegetable Crops as Affected by Biostimulants Application


Biostimulants are formulated products of biological origin that are used in agriculture to improve plant productivity, produce quality and tolerance to certain stresses. The interest in this new heterogeneous class of compounds is increasing also due to the lower environmental impact of biostimulants in comparison to synthetic fertilisers and pesticides. In addition, the application of biostimulants can improve the health‐related properties of some plant‐derived foods, by stimulating the accumulation of secondary metabolites and phytonutrients in various organs. The heterogenicity of formulations composition and the difficulty to identify the exact mode and mechanisms of action of these products represent a challenge for the process of rationalisation of this sector. For these reasons, the number of researches and experimentations on biostimulants in increasing as well as the level of knowledge in this field.

Key Concepts

  • The use of biostimulants in agriculture is increasing due to the need of low impact and more sustainable agricultural management approaches.
  • The rationalisation of the biostimulants sector is a key aspect to be addressed in the next few years.
  • The positive effect of biostimulants is related to their capacity to improve the yield and quality of produce.
  • The consumers' awareness toward nutraceutical and nutritional quality attributes of vegetable crops is increasing.
  • The recent rise in scientific literature related to this topic suggests that biostimulants could play a relevant role in enhancing the nutritional and health‐related characteristics of plant‐derived food.

Keywords: active compounds; bio‐based products; biostimulants; nutraceutical; nutritional; phytonutrients; produce quality; secondary metabolites

Figure 1. The application of biostimulants as soil or foliar treatment can lead to higher accumulation of various phytonutrients thus enhancing health‐related traits of produce. Treatments can induce the de novo biosynthesis of molecules directly in the treated organ or, alternatively, they can activate a signalling process and certain compounds can possibly be translocated to other plant organs.


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Further Reading

Caradonia F, Battaglia V, Righi L, Pascali G and La Torre A (2019) Plant biostimulant regulatory framework: prospects in Europe and current situation at international level. Journal of Plant Growth Regulation 38 (2): 438–448.

Geelen H (2020) The Chemical Biology of Plant Biostimulants. Wiley Series in Renewable Resource Series. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. ISBN:1119357195, 9781119357193. In Press.

Pereira L, Bahcevandziev K and Joshi NH (2019) Seaweeds as Plant Fertilizer, Agricultural Biostimulants and Animal Fodder, p 232. CRC Press: Boca Raton.

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Cocetta, Giacomo, and Ferrante, Antonio(Feb 2020) Nutritional and Nutraceutical Value of Vegetable Crops as Affected by Biostimulants Application. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0028906]