Plant Diversity ›› 2011, Vol. 33 ›› Issue (4): 396-402.

• Articles •

Effects of Potassium on the Growth and Accumulation of Active Constituents of a Medicinal Plant Erigeron breviscapus (Asteraceae)

SU  Wen-Hua, ZHANG  Guang-Fei, GUO  Xiao-Rong, ZHOU  Rui

1. Institute of Ecology and Geobotany, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091, China
• Received:2010-12-01 Online:2011-08-25 Published:2011-04-05

Abstract:

Erigeron breviscapus a medicinal plant was planted under different potassium levels to investigate effects of potassium on the growth and the accumulation of secondary metabolites, address the relationship between them in medicinal plants in the plantation. Results showed: In 0-0.372g/plant potassium levels, the biomass of E.breviscapus and yields of 2 active constituents, total caffeates and scutellarin, were significantly positively correlated with the amount of K fertilizer. Contents of total caffeates and scutellarin  were significantly positively correlated with the amount of K fertilizer from 0 to 0.248g/plant, but  negatively correlated with the amount of K fertilizer from 0.248 to 0.372g/plant. Contents of total caffeates and scutellarin were negatively correlated with contents of N in E.breviscapus, as predicated by the carbon/nutrient balance hypothesis. The findings suggest that: In condition of low potassium availability in soil more potassium fertilizer is possible to increase flavonoids accumulation in plant, but in high potassium availability is to reduce. Flavonoids accumulation in plants is not only found to increase in stress environment, but also in normal environment. There is not a tradeoff between the growth and accumulation of secondary metabolites in plant.

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