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The use of bioeffectors, formally known as plant biostimulants, has become common practice in agriculture and provides a number of benefits in stimulating growth and protecting against stress. A biostimulant is loosely defined as an organic material and/or microorganism that is applied to enhance nutrient uptake, stimulate growth, enhance stress tolerance or crop quality. This review is intended to provide a broad overview of known effects of biostimulants and their ability to improve tolerance to abiotic stresses. Inoculation or application of extracts from algae or other plants have beneficial effects on growth and stress adaptation. Algal extracts, protein hydrolysates, humic and fulvic acids, and other compounded mixtures have properties beyond basic nutrition, often enhancing growth and stress tolerance. Non-pathogenic bacteria capable of colonizing roots and the rhizosphere also have a number of positive effects. These effects include higher yield, enhanced nutrient uptake and utilization, increased photosynthetic activity, and resistance to both biotic and abiotic stresses. While most biostimulants have numerous and diverse effects on plant growth, this review focuses on the bioprotective effects against abiotic stress. Agricultural biostimulants may contribute to make agriculture more sustainable and resilient and offer an alternative to synthetic protectants which have increasingly falling out of favour with consumers. An extensive review of the literature shows a clear role for a diverse number of biostimulants that have protective effects against abiotic stress but also reveals the urgent need to address the underlying mechanisms responsible for these effects.
Van Oosten, M. J., Pepe, O., De Pascale, S., Silletti, S., & Maggio, A. (2017, December 1). The role of biostimulants and bioeffectors as alleviators of abiotic stress in crop plants. Chemical and Biological Technologies in Agriculture. Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40538-017-0089-5