Our glossary contains all our technical information, made easily accessible! Herein you will find all terms used throughout the website as well a few short write-ups to explain some key elements.
May assist plants in the recovery from previous viruses.
Is rich in alginic acid, to boost water retention.
Contains very high levels of cytokinins and features the highest mineral content of any kelp.
Can improve soil conditions and enhance water retention.
Helps in fertility of Pollen
Are essential amino acids for pollination.These amino acids increase the pollen germination and the length of the pollinic tube.
The importance of Amino Acids
The functions of amino acids in plants are near endless and science is constantly discovering more. Here are a few important effects:
- Increase chlorophyll production
- Provide rich source of organic nitrogen
- Stimulate synthesis of vitamins
- Influence various enzymatic systems
- Flowering is stimulated
- Better fruit setting
- Higher nutritional content, size, flavor, and coloration of fruits.
- Higher brix level (quality increase)
- Increased pest and pathogen resistance
- Protein biosynthesis
Amino acids are the base structure for proteins. The standard amino acids combine in virtually infinite variations to produce countless different proteins. These proteins are essential to many structural components of plant tissue.
Proteins have many different functions: structural (supportive), metabolic (enzymes and stimulation), nutrient transport, amino acid reserves. In fact proteins are used in virtually every biological process!
Plants make their own proteins based upon the specific stage of growth, nutritional demands, stress, etc. They can only effectively build the needed proteins if the raw materials are present. And making amino acids is an energy intensive process. So, providing additional L-amino acids via the roots or leaf tissue ensures the plant has plenty of materials for building these important proteins.
Resistance to abiotic stress
Abiotic stress, such as high/low temperatures, drought, flooding, pest attacks, disease or phytotoxic effects from the application of chemical pesticides have negative effects on a plant metabolism. Of course this lowers crop quality and yield. Applying amino acid supplementation before, during and after stressful conditions gives plants the building blocks that directly provide prevention and repair effect.
When a plant is under stress, self-production of amino acids slows because it is an energy-expensive process. Instead the plant hydrolyzes (breaks down) existing proteins to gain the needed amino acids. This process requires less energy than synthesizing from scratch. It also means that the plant may cannibalize itself unless amino acids are provided as supplementation.
Plants increase L-Proline production during times of abiotic stress to help reduce effect and speed up recovery time. L-Proline primarily influences the cell wall’s strength and resistance to various stresses, like poor weather conditions.
Photosynthesis is a plant’s most important chemical process. A plant synthesizes sugars from carbon dioxide, water, and light energy. The sugars (carbohydrates) are then used by the plant as a source of energy for other metabolic processes. This critical function is influenced by amino acids.
L-Glycine and L-Glutamic acid are essential metabolites for chlorophyll synthesis and tissue formation. These amino acids raise the concentration of chlorophyll in plants. More chlorophyll means greater absorption of light energy, which increases photosynthesis.
Steady source of organic nitrogen
The most commonly discussed forms of nitrogen used by plants are nitrates (NO3) and ammonium (NH4). Nitrogen is difficult to provide as nutrition because it’s naturally a gas and easily leaches from the soil. Most commercial fertilizers contain these two forms in high quantities. Plants readily use both forms, though different plants do have preference.
But there is another, less discussed source of nitrogen. Perhaps the lack of discussion is because there is still a lot of research needed on the topic. Organic materials (like L-amino acids) contain organic nitrogen. Once inside the plant, the organic nitrogen is released and used by the plant.
Since a portion of the nitrogen taken into the plant is used for protein and amino acid synthesis, by providing in ready-to-use form, the plant requires less from nitrates and ammonium for these activities. Why does this matter? As with anything, overdoing any one aspect causes problems somewhere else.
Excessive nitrates especially tend to create accelerated growth and cell elongation. As the rapidly growing cells form, the cell wall is stretched and thinned. This weaker tissue makes a perfect target for invading pests. You can see this with many field crops like maize—fast growth but weak plants. Excess nitrates also cause antagonism against other important minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
When nitrates are in balance and nitrogen is also provided by organic sources, cells tend to grow with more natural and sturdy shape. This results in a stronger plant and healthy cells more re- sistant to stress and attack.
Organic nitrogen provided by L-amino acids also tends to stick around in the soil longer with less leaching. So less fertilizer input is required.
Stomata are cellular structures that control a plant’s water balance. They are also used during transpiration (breathing from the leaves), as well as the absorption macro and micronutrients. A stoma’s openings are controlled by external factors (light, moisture, temperature and salt concentration) and by internal factors (amino acids, available potassium, etc.).
Stomata close during periods of low light and moisture and when salt concentration and temperatures are high. When stomata close, photosynthesis and transpiration are reduced and respiration is increased. This lowers the plant’s metabolic balance and slows or stops growth. L-Glutamic acid works as an osmotic agent for the protective cells, which can increase the opening of stomata.
One of the most significant roles amino acids play is enhancing the bioavailability of nutrients. Certain nutrients are not absorbable by plants due to molecular structure, ionic charge, etc. L-amino acids (and some other organic acids) work to ‘hide’ these unavailable minerals so the plant can absorb and transport the minerals.
By chelating with amino acids, the overall amount of minerals existing in a nutrient solution and growing medium becomes available for uptake and transport throughout the plant. In addition, amino acids allow for more effective foliar feeding by transporting minerals into the stomata.
L-Glycine and L-Glutamic acid amino acids are known as very effective chelating agents primarily because of their small molecular weight. Their size allows them to easily move through cell membranes.
In addition to increasing the availability of good nutrients, amino acids are also shown to reduce metal toxicity in plants and soil by binding with excess metals. This helps to balance the levels of various elements in the medium.
Precursors to plant hormones and growth factors
Some amino acids are precursors of various plant hormones and other growth compounds.
- L-Methionine is a precursor of ethylene (important for fruit and flower ripening) and other growth factors such as Espermine and Espermidine.
- L-Tryptophan is a precursor of auxin synthesis (only available if produced through enzymatic hydrolyzation)
- Indole-3-Acetic acid (essential rooting growth hormone) requires L-Tryptophan
- L-Arginine is a precursor to cytokinin production
Several amino acids influence gene expression (telling the plant what to do)
Pollination and fruit formation
Amino acids are used extensively during peak metabolic activities. Pollination and fruit formation are two of the most important times for plants, thus metabolic activity is heightened.
- L-Histidine helps ripen fruit
- L-Proline increases pollen fertility
- L-Lysine, L-Methionine, and L-Glutamic acid increase pollen germination and the length of the pollen tube
- L-Alanine, L-Valine, and L-Leucine improve the quality of fruit
- Microbe activity in growing medium
Since all life is dependent upon amino acids, this includes all the little microbes living in and around the root area. These microbes utilize amino acids much like plants do.
Some amino acids are used as building blocks for structural components and protein synthesis. Others are used as stimulants for production of various hormonal and growth compounds. For example, L-methionine is a precursor of growth factors that stabilize cell membranes in microbes. Some microbes also consume amino acids as a source of organic nitrogen and proteins.
In addition, amino acids in the soil provide a rich source of organic material to help build soil structure, fertility, and water retention.