Phenotypical and biochemical characterization of tomato plants treated with triacontanol

Manai, Michela; Fiorillo, Anna; Matuozzo, Monica; Li, Mei; D’Ambrosio, Chiara; Franco, Loris; Scaloni, Andrea; Fogliano, Vincenzo; Camoni, Lorenzo; Marra, Mauro


Biostimulants are heterogeneous products designed to support plant development and to improve the yield and quality of crops. Here, we focused on the effects of triacontanol, a promising biostimulant found in cuticle waxes, on tomato growth and productivity. We examined various phenological traits related to vegetative growth, flowering and fruit yield, the metabolic profile of fruits, and the response of triacontanol-treated plants to salt stress. Additionally, a proteomic analysis was conducted to clarify the molecular mechanisms underlying triacontanol action. Triacontanol application induced advanced and increased blooming without affecting plant growth. Biochemical analyses of fruits showed minimal changes in nutritional properties. The treatment also increased the germination rate of seeds by altering hormone homeostasis and reduced salt stress-induced damage. Proteomics analysis of leaves revealed that triacontanol increased the abundance of proteins related to development and abiotic stress, while down-regulating proteins involved in biotic stress resistance. The proteome of the fruits was not significantly affected by triacontanol, confirming that biostimulation did not alter the nutritional properties of fruits. Overall, our findings provide evidence of the effects of triacontanol on growth, development, and stress tolerance, shedding light on its mechanism of action and providing new insights into its potential in agricultural practices.