Guide to the use of amino acids in plants

In the market for agricultural products, there are a lot of types and classes, of different nature (use in organic and conventional agriculture) and that meet a certain objective with plants. Whether it is overcoming a stress that the plant is subjected to, stimulating rooting, production or disease.

One of the most widely used biostimulants as a supplement to nutrition are amino acids . They provide an energy boost to the crop and help to overcome stressful situations (frost, drought, low root growth, etc.). It gives us a little push to regulate the plant and continue in production or growth.

However, there is a world of different amino acids to discover, and on the market we find from € 0.5 / L to € 6 / L. Does the difference lie in the commercial margin that each of the brands has or is it also related to the amino acid content (aminogram). We are going to gut the market for the amino acids used for our crops .

 

When we talk about amino acids we are not talking about synthesized strange compounds but organic molecules. Nowadays, the trend of agriculture (well, of the consumer…) is to approach organic farming or, at least, to the less invasive and intensive one. This leads to the launching of a wide variety of products and natural extracts (thyme, rosemary, algae, amino acids, etc.) that exert certain positive properties on the crops and do not cause negative side effects (in principle).

AMINO ACIDS IN PLANTS

Basically, amino acids are obtained from proteins (animal or vegetable), which are broken down into smaller structures (amino acids) by the action of a catalyst. This catalyst can be an enzyme, enzymatic hydrolysis amino acids , which are also proteins but with specific functions, or by means of an acidic agent, acid hydrolysis amino acids , which does not control the process of obtaining or breaking proteins as adequately as the others.

As they are “energy agents” and are assimilated very well by the plant, they produce a great stimulus on the plants, increasing their cellular construction (more stems, more leaves, more roots …) and promoting an exit from stress to which it is subjected.

Like any living being, we have certain needs for amino acids. Basically we eat a beef steak and our body, through the use of energy, breaks these parts down into amino acids. The same thing happens with plants. By applying nutrients (such as nitrogen) and by expending energy from the plant, the result is amino acids.

But … what if we save the energy cost to produce these amino acids? All this arose back in 1970, where they wanted to limit the plant’s nutrition process and make it more effective.

To know its  importance,  you have to know that these amino acids participate in a lot of reactions in plants and are closely linked to plant growth and development. Even the production of hormones also depends on these organic molecules.

RELIEVE PLANT STRESS

Without the intention of humanizing a vegetable, plants also get stressed. This problem can be caused by many reasons, from excess or lack of water, wind, heat, cold, hail, salinity, etc. At that very moment there is a short period of time in which the crop may or may not recover. For this reason, many technicians apply or recommend the application of amino acids in the critical moments of the plantation.

Of course, the application of these amino acids is not limited only to trying to alleviate the stress to which the plants are subjected, but also to benefit the plant at some critical moments during planting.

Basically, amino acids are a stimulant that manages to «save energy» for the plant, since it minimizes the decomposition processes of the fertilizers until these amino acids are obtained. If a plant suffers from a problem, the least it is expected is that it wastes energy unnecessarily and cannot “attend to” its problem.

IMPORTANT MOMENTS IN A CROP

When we talk about these decisive stages in a crop we talk about post-transplantation (where the plant goes from one climatic conditions to others, totally different), growth, pre-flowering (L-proline, L-lysine, L-methionine, L- glutamic acid, etc.), fruit set or its development. These stages decide whether a crop has been successful or not.

However, there are times when it is convenient to apply these amino acids and we are not necessarily in the previous stages. This is the case of a hailstorm for example. The devastating effect of hail causes breakage of stems and leaves. The plant slows down its growth and runs out of strength to cope with a possible infection of its wounds by fungi or bacteria. It is time to apply a cure based on amino acids (and its corresponding fungicide, ecological or chemical).

WHAT BENEFIT DOES THE APPLICATION OF AMINO ACIDS USUALLY BRING?

  • Blooming stimulation.
  • Improved fruit set.
  • Better sugar and acidity ratio in the plant (Brix degrees).
  • Precocity.
  • Improvement in the size and color (ripening) of the fruit.

Another important thing is knowing how to distinguish between L-amino acids and D-amino acids. This is related to the position of the molecules that make up the amino acid, that is, their spatial arrangement. Of these two, only the L-amino acids  are those that form the proteins that plants feed on, and those that we will find in products that contain amino acids.

THE EFFECTS OF AMINO ACIDS IN PLANTS

INCREASES THE ABSORPTION OF NUTRIENTS

A plant that has a free disposition of amino acids will be able to absorb microelements with low mobility more easily. It is known as a chelating action and is favored by L-glutamic acid and L-glycine.

IT FAVORS THE PRODUCTION OF PHYTOHORMONES

More than favoring, it is the amino acids that allow the plant to develop its plant hormones at a certain time. These could be ethylene, auxins, hormones involved in flowering, etc.

We will talk at length about these phytohormones because it is a very interesting topic. 🙂

IMPROVEMENT OF SOIL PROPERTIES 

These amino acids, when applied to the soil, have an improving effect, as they increase the microbial flora of the soil.

STIMULATES RESISTANCE AND OVERCOMING CERTAIN PROBLEMS

As well as the hail mentioned above, as the application of herbicides or chemical products, low temperatures or strong winds, are ways of damaging the plant. At that time, to overcome this inconvenience, the plant needs energy and sustenance, based on water and compost. However, the compost generates a lot of effort on the part of the plant when it comes to breaking down into amino acids. If this long road is narrowed, the plant can regain its strength to overcome many of the common problems in agriculture.

HOW TO GUT AN AMINOGRAM (FUNCTION OF EACH OF THE AMINO ACIDS)

Aspartic acid

  • Wildcard amino acid that acts in all the development pathways of the plant.
  • It encourages growth, development and stimulating action.

Glutamic acid

  • It favors plant development, stimulating plant growth.
  • It intervenes in the flowering and fruit setting of future fruits (it is usually recommended at this stage).
  • Booster in the absorption of other amino acids.

To the girl

  • Alanine is related to help in the photosynthesis process and obtaining chlorophyll. Its application will promote a greener plant and greater metabolic activity.

Arginine

  • Amino acid used as a stimulant
  • Procursor of the natural hormone auxin
  • Enhances the development of leaves, stems and shoots.
  • Stimulates root development (as does methionine).
  • Recommended foliar use (as a stimulant) and in fertigation (complexation of nutrients in the soil and stimulation of root development).

Asparagina

  • Increase in nitrogen assimilation.
  • Use in conditions of chlorosis due to lack of nitrogen or as a stimulant in foliar application.

Phenylalanine

  • It is a special component in the formation of proteins and synthesis of phenolic compounds or oils. It is interesting for plants from which botanical extracts are extracted, which can have pharmaceutical use or are used by plants as a defense system.
  • Activation of the shikimic acid pathway is closely related to the amino acid phenylalanine.

Wisteria

  • It has a great chelating action, so a high content of this amino acid favors the assimilation of nutrients. Its application to the soil is recommended to complex nutrients blocked in it or to incorporate it into the fertigation tank (as long as its pH is compatible with the amino acid itself).
  • Glycine also works by improving the flowering and fertilization process, so it is also interesting to use it in the moments before flowering.
  • As the amino acid glycine is closely related to chlorophyll and photosynthesis, its application also encourages the development and emergence of new shoots.

Hydroxyproline

  • Amino acid related to flowering, fertilization and fruit set.

Histidine

  • Related to the metabolic balance of the plant and health.
  • Activates protection and defense mechanisms of the plant

Isoleucina

  • Regulatory amino acid. It balances the internal mechanisms of the plant, improving the characteristics of the foliar tissues and providing an energy shock.

Leucine

  • Its application in the flowering and fruit setting stage is interesting, as it enhances flowering and reduces the subsequent fall of set fruits (fruit abortion). Interesting its application in olive groves.

Lysine

  • Provides resistance in adverse situations, especially in drought.
  • Related to the synthesis of chlorophyll
  • Catalyst in nitrogen absorption

Methionine

  • Ripening of fruits and obtaining color.
  • Ethylene precursor
  • Via fertigation (applied in irrigation), favors root growth.
  • It is related to the assimilation of nitrates.

Proline

  • Proline is a regulator of the internal functioning of the plant and is usually stimulated in stressful situations of the plant. Therefore, in the face of a drought, drop in temperature, wind or hail, the external applications of this amino acid are very favorable to allow an exit from the negative situation.

Serine

  • Precursor in the formation of other amino acids.
  • Amino acid regulator of the resistance mechanisms or routes of the plant (attack by herbivores, mechanical damage, etc.)

Tyrosine

  • Contribution of energy to the crop, anti-stress and shock action in activating plant metabolism.
  • Procuring defense mechanisms of plants.

Threonine

  • It favors the growth of the plant.
  • Use indicated in situations of vegetative stop or as a stimulant

Tryptophan

  • Auxin procursor, related to cell division.
  • Activation of defense routes for plants (animal attack, mechanical damage, drought, etc.).

Valina

  • Valine enhances and promotes seed germination, so it can be used in the first waterings or directly in seed impregnation before planting.
  • It favors the resistance of the plant to stress situations, such as low temperatures, cold soil temperatures, etc.

The higher content of one or another amino acid will define the price and use of the final product. Therefore, we must always look at the aminogram on the label or technical sheet, which must be shown to all customers.

Depending on the use that we want to give the amino acid, we will look for those with stimulating action or protective action in situations of stress (drought, waterlogging, cold, heat, etc.).

FOLIAR OR IRRIGATED AMINO ACIDS? 

Practically all amino acids have good absorption both by foliar route (through the leaves) and in fertigation. Using one or another form of application will also depend on the aminogram.

If we want to stimulate root production , the recommended application is through irrigation and using those amino acids that contain methionine, arginine, etc. in their aminogram.

If we seek to enhance flowering and subsequent fruit setting, it is advisable to provide foliar application with a high content of glutamic acid, hydroxyproline, glycine, etc.

Welcome to The GardenPure! My name is Ryan Heagle, and I’m the founder of The GardenPure, I spent the first part of my adult life teaching and then living in Australia in various business ventures, the first of which was a business devoted to the sale of house plants.  I am now a full time blogger. I am a self taught gardener.

Ryan Heagle

Welcome to The GardenPure! My name is Ryan Heagle, and I’m the founder of The GardenPure, I spent the first part of my adult life teaching and then living in Australia in various business ventures, the first of which was a business devoted to the sale of house plants.  I am now a full time blogger. I am a self taught gardener.

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