A plant biostimulant from the seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum (Sealicit) reduces podshatter and yield loss in oilseed rape through modulation of IND expression.

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The yield of podded crops such as oilseed rape (OSR) is limited by evolutionary adaptations of the plants for more efficient and successful seed dispersal for survival. These plants have evolved dehiscent dry fruits that shatter along a specifically developed junction at carpel margins. A number of strategies such as pod sealants, GMOs and hybrids have been developed to mitigate the impact of pod shatter on crop yield with limited success. Plant biostimulants have been shown to influence plant development. A challenge in plant biostimulant research is elucidating the mechanisms of action. Here we have focused on understanding the effect of an Ascophyllum nodosum based biostimulant (Sealicit) on fruit development and seed dispersal trait in Arabidopsis and OSR at genetic and physiological level. The results indicate that Sealicit is affecting the expression of the major regulator of pod shattering, INDEHISCENT, as well as disrupting the auxin minimum. Both factors influence the formation of the dehiscence zone and consequently reduce pod shattering. Unravelling the mode of action of this unique biostimulant provides data to support its effectiveness in reducing pod shatter and highlights its potential for growers to increase seed yield in a number of OSR varieties.