Effects Of Plant Hormones On Regrowth Of Grasses

Project and Seminar Material for Agricultural Engineering AE

Effects Of Plant Hormones On Regrowth Of Grasses

Chapter One


Background to the Study

Besides genetic and climatic factors, the growth and yield of crops are mainly determined by the amount of nutrients available in the soil (Jungk and Rademacher, 1983). The vast area of tropical soils of the humid tropics are acidic. A number of studies have shown that high proportions of soils which belong to the great soil groups of Oxisols and Ultisols have a marked ability to fix applied inorganic P, and usually have low extractable P (Sanchez and Salinas, 1981). Higher soil acidity is associated with increases in precipitation, leaching, weathering, hydrolysis, organic matter, nitrification, fertiliser application, oxidation of sulphides, uptake of ions, and more (Adams, 1984).
Phosphate can readily be rendered unavailable to plant roots because it is the most immobile of the major plant nutrients and whose efficiency can be affected by P fertiliser distribution and distance of application from the plant (Eghball and Sander, 1989). The quantity of P in soil solution is in the range of 0.3 to 3 kg P2O5 ha-1 as growing crops absorb about 1 kg P2O5 ha-1 per day. The labile fraction in the topsoil layer of 20 cm is in the range of 150 to 500 kg P2O5 ha-1, which could replenish soil solution P (Mengel and Kirby, 1996). The phosphate concentrations of the soil solution and its buffering capacity are the most important parameters governing the P supply to plant roots. Thus, the rate of desorption is higher in soils with a higher phosphate buffer capacity (Dear et al., 1992). The consideration of significant varietal and species differences in tolerating low available P2O5 and low pH effect is also important. At similar yield levels, upland rice usually requires less P than maize. The general recommendation for these crops, in acidic soils, ranges from 100 to 150 kg P2O5 ha-1 for maize and 0 to 60 kg ha-1 for upland rice (Sanchez, 1976).

The low productivity and yields of crops, in acidic soils, can mainly be attributed either to the deficiency of nutrients such as P, Ca and Mg or to low pH and toxicity of Al, Fe and Mn (Soon, 1991; Marschner, 1995). Consequently, the application of lime to acid soils can displace P2O5 from precipitates of Al and Fe-phosphate, making the exchange sites more active through the improvement in physico-chemical properties of such soils and culminates in the replenishment of Ca and Mg (Sommer, 1979; Crizaldo, 1981). The first observable effect of Al on plants is a limitation in root growth. Root tips and lateral roots become thickened and turn brown and the uptake and translocation of P to the upper plant parts are affected. The toxicity in the tops is often characterised by symptoms similar to those of phosphate. In the plant Al may interfere with the P metabolism by the formation of stable Alphosphate complexes (Sommer, 1979; Marschner, 1995).

Plant growth regulators make plants use nutrients more efficiently by exploiting their genetic and physiological potentials on a higher level (Jungk and Rademacher, 1983). Plant hormones are able to influence growth and differentiation in plants without having a nutritive character. By promoting, inhibiting or modifying the physiological processes of plants, results might be gained which directly or indirectly lead to higher yields (Koteret al., 1983). Caldizet al. (1991) found that foliar application of N and benzyladenine (BA) on wheat delayed chlorophyll loss and increased grain protein but not yield. Similarly, the application of Gibberellins (GAs) has remarkable effects on the elongation of primary stalk, on the growth of dwarf plants and development of side branches (Nickell, 1983; Ross et al., 1993). This effect occurs in the young tissues and growth centres and is caused by an increase in the rate of cell division (Nickell, 1983).

Statement of the Problem

An understanding of how the grass plant grows and develops is critical to properly manage forage grasses. When someone understands why and how plant processes work and learns “to see what he is looking at” in the field, then wise management decisions based on the conditions of the pasture can be made rather than trying to follow an “average” set of guidelines. Every piece of land and the animals on it are different and should be managed differently – depending on the situation. Basic knowledge of the biology of plant growth and observation skills that develop only with being in the field, constant monitoring, careful record keeping and a diligent desire to learn result in improved soil, water and land stewardship and profitability. It is based on this that this study seek to examine the effects of plant hormones on regrowth of grasses.

Aim of the Study

The aim of the study is to examine the effects of plant hormones on regrowth of grasses while the specific objective include:

  1. To determine if microbes also produce plant hormones
  2. To examine if plants product different hormones
  3. To determine if changes in hormone affects grass regrowth

Research Question

  1. How do microbe’s product plant hormones?
  2. How do plant produce different hormones?
  3. How do changes in hormone affect grass regrowth?

Significance of the Study

This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this study and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their research work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other study.

Limitations of the Study

The demanding schedule of respondents at work made it very difficult getting the respondents to participate in the survey. As a result, retrieving copies of questionnaire in timely fashion was very challenging. Also, the researcher is a student and therefore has limited time as well as resources in covering extensive literature available in conducting this research. Information provided by the researcher may not hold true for all businesses or organizations but is restricted to the selected organization used as a study in this research especially in the locality where this study is being conducted. Finally, the researcher is restricted only to the evidence provided by the participants in the research and therefore cannot determine the reliability and accuracy of the information provided.

Financial constraint:

Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint:

The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

Chapter Five


The microbial production of phytohormones is a potent mechanism allowing microbes to alter plant physiology. For some phytohormones, the biosynthesis and role in interaction with the plant are well studied and sustained by genetic evidence as discussed above. However, for many examples this is not the case questioning the importance of this phytohormone in microbe-plant interactions. Further experiments are necessary to prove whether the microbial production is a real effector in the interaction or whether this is a by-product of the microbial metabolism without any substantial role. Futhermore, plant experiments in an agronomic setting are necessary. Under these conditions, the introduced organisms will need to compete with the indigenous microflora, a factor that can explain the low reproducibility and high variability.

Effects Of Plant Hormones On Regrowth Of Grasses

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