By Grigg Bros.
To elicit (v) – draw out or evoke what is latent (already existing).
Compounds and/or ions that activate plant defense responses, when applied as a topical spray, are called elicitors. Product formulations that can improve turfgrass vigor and performance under environmental stress remain very promising technology. Plants treated with elicitors generally exhibit better quality and performance under stress, infection, or both.
Broadly, elicitors generate biochemical-signaling molecules, including jasmonic and/or salicylic acid, which have downstream effects such as antioxidant and phytoalexin synthesis. In addition, these and other biochemical signals initiate plant defense responses such as systemic acquired resistance (SAR) and the hypersensitivity response (HR). Phytoalexins represent a chemical barrier to stress, particularly infection, due to its antimicrobial properties. Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress caused by free oxygen radicals – the product of low mowing heights, traffic, shade, drought, and temperature stress.
Elicitors include substances of pathogen origin or those such as heavy metal salts, antibiotics and detergents. The former are active at low doses and include proteins, peptides, lipids, or polysaccharides derived from pathogenic compounds, for example glucan, chitin, and chitosan.
The latter include metal salts and other ionic elicitors such as silicon (Si), cobalt (Co), and molybdenum (Mo), which induce plant defense responses at relatively high doses. Other chemical elicitors include saponin, phosphorus acid (phosphite), and cytokinin.
Many of these compounds have been shown to stimulate plant defense responses when applied as a topical spray or root amendment – a phenomenon known as induced resistance. Growth stage has an important role in efficacy. Most data suggest that elicitors are most effective when applied to rapidly growing, metabolically active tissues. Induced resistance represents a preventative method of stress alleviation or disease management.
Elicitors rarely have direct activity against pathogens. Importantly, an induced resistance response will not be fully established until at least three to four days following application, therefore a repeat and sequential application schedule is required prior to the onset of stress or infection. The duration of protection is variable depending on the elicitor, crop, environmental conditions, pathogen, type of stress, etc. Induced resistance may persist from a few days to several weeks.
Elicitors of natural biological origin may be involved in the interaction of plants and potential pathogens, whereas elemental and other ionic elicitors are generally involved in resistance to environmental stress.
Modern approaches to maintaining adequate turfgrass growth and vigor during environmental stress include utilizing all options. The application of elicitors represents a reliable turfgrass management strategy to reduce plant stress and increase vigor.
Grigg Brothers introduces Elicitor®, a foliar product designed to improve turfgrass response to stress. Elicitor® includes bioactive compounds that may induce plant defense responses. These chemical activators, or ‘elicitors’, are derived from biological compounds and inorganic ions. Research has shown elicitors can help maintain plant vigor during temperature, shade and/or salinity stress.
Grigg Brothers believes that effective turfgrass management is all about taking the right steps to promote plant health and longevity, and to effectively manage pests. Elicitor® is an excellent addition to Grigg Brothers® Nutritional IPM™ strategies with years of research and proven results. BR