Effect of seaweed extracts on the yield, yield attributes ... . LEINDAH DEVI, Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, COIMBATORE (T.N.) INDIA Email: leindahnong@gmail.com

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  • An Asian Journal of Soil ScienceVolume 8 | Issue 2 | December, 2013 | 304-310

    Effect of seaweed extracts on the yield, yieldattributes and juice quality of sugarcane in coastalregion of Tamil Nadu




    Received : 28.08.2013;Revised :24.09.2013; Accepted : 03.10.2013

    SummaryThe experiment was conducted on sugarcane during 2012-13 to study the effects of foliar applications ofdifferent concentrations of seaweed extracts (prepared from Kappaphycus alvarezii and Glacilaria sp.) onyield, yield attributes and juice quality of sugarcane. The foliar spray was applied three times at 30, 75 and110 days after planting with 2.5%, 5%, 6.5%, 7.5% and 10% concentrations of both seaweed extracts.Foliar applications of seaweed extract significantly enhanced yield, yield attributes and juice quality. Thehighest yield was recorded with the applications of 10% seaweed extract Kappaphycus alvarezii (K sap),followed by 10% seaweed extract Glacilaria sp (G sap) that resulted in 19.54 % and 18.07 % increases,respectively compared to the control. Seaweed extract of Kappaphycus alvarezii was found slightly moreeffective than that of Gracilaria sap. The maximum yield, yield attributes and juice quality was also achievedwith 100 % NPK+10 % Kappaphycus alvarezii extract application. Thus, foliar applications of seaweedextracts could be a promising option for yield, yield attributes and juice quality enhancement of sugarcane.

    Key words : Seaweed extract / sap, Kappaphycus alvarezii, Glacilaria sp., Sugarcane, Yield, Yield attributes,Juice quality

    How to cite this article : Devi, N. Leindah and Mani, S. (2013). Effect of seaweed extracts on the yield,yield attributes and juice quality of sugarcane in coastal region of Tamil Nadu. Asian J. Soil Sci., 8(2): 304-310.

    Research Article

    Corresponding author :N. LEINDAH DEVI, Department ofSoil Science and AgriculturalChemistry, Tamil Nadu AgriculturalUniversity, COIMBATORE (T.N.) INDIAEmail: leindahnong@gmail.com

    Co-authors :S. MANI, Department of Soil Scienceand Agricultural Chemistry, TamilNadu Agricultural University,COIMBATORE (T.N.) INDIA

    IntroductionSugarcane (Saccharum hybrid complex) is an important

    agro-industrial crop grown primarily for sugar production inIndia and plays a pivotal role in agricultural and industrialeconomy of the country. The productivity of sugarcane intropical belt is 29.96 % higher than that of sub-tropical belt,and this is primarily due to the ideal climatic conditions over alonger period for its growth. An increased plant populationdensity in the form of number of millable canes and individualcane weight per unit area and time are the most importantfactors deciding higher sugarcane yield.

    Liquid extracts obtained from seaweeds have recentlygained importance as foliar sprays for many crops includingvarious grasses, cereals, flowers and vegetable species(Crouch and Van Staden, 1994). Seaweed extracts containsmajor and minor nutrients, amino acids, vitamins, cytokinins,

    auxin and abscisic acid like growth promoting substances(Mooney and Van Staden, 1986) and have been reported tostimulate the growth and yield of plants (Rama Rao, 1991),develop tolerance to environment stress (Zhang and Schmidt,2000; Zhang et al., 2003), increase nutrient uptake from soil(Verkleij, 1992; Turan and Kose, 2004) and enhance antioxidantproperties (Verkleij, 1992). The beneficial effect of seaweedextract application is as a result of many components thatmay work synergistically at different concentrations, althoughthe mode of action still remains unknown (Fornes et al., 2002).Unlike, chemical fertilizers, extracts derived from seaweedsare biodegradable, non-toxic, non-polluting and non-hazardous to humans, animals and birds (Dhargalkar andPereira, 2005). Keeping this in view, with the abovebackground, the present investigation was carried out tostudy the effects of foliar applications of different

  • HIND AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND TRAINING INSTITUTE 305 Asian J. Soil Sci., (Dec., 2013) 8 (2) :

    concentrations of seaweed extracts (prepared fromKappaphycus alvarezii and Glacilaria sp.) on yield, yieldattributes and juice quality of sugarcane.

    Resource and Research MethodsPreparation of liquid seaweed extract and sett treatments :

    The seaweed extract used in this study was obtainedfrom Kappaphycus alvarezii and Glacilaria sap red algaebelonging to the family Solieraceae. The seaweed liquidfertilizer was prepared with different doses viz., 2.5%; 5.0%;6.5%, 7.5% and 10%. The sugarcane variety COC (SC 24) wasused as test crop. Setts were soaked in particular seaweedsaps for 2-3 mins before planting and then setts were planted.

    Experimental site :The field experiment was conducted during the year 2012-

    13 at Sugarcane Research Station, TNAU, Cuddalore, TamilNadu. The experimental site is located at latitude 11.46NLongitude 79.48E and 4.6 m above mean sea level. Theexperimental field was sandy loam in texture with near to neutralpH (7.55) and non saline (EC: 0.16 dS m-1). The initial soilfertility status was 0.46% in organic carbon, 141 kg ha-1 in soilavailable N, 11.33 kg ha-1 in available P and 200 kg ha-1 inavailable K.

    Experimental design and treatments :The experiment was laid out with twelve treatments in a

    Randomized Block Design with three replications. Thefollowing treatments were included in the study.

    Treatment details :T

    1- Recommended dose of fertilizer (100% N,P,K)

    (control), T2- recommended dose and water spray, T

    3- 50%

    recommended dose + 6.25% Kappaphycus alvarezii extract(K sap), T

    4- recommended dose +2.5% K sap, T

    5- recommended

    dose +5.0%K sap, T6- recommended dose + 7.5% K sap, T


    recommended dose +10% K sap, T8- recommended dose +2.5%

    (Glacilaria extract) G sap, T9- recommended dose +5.0% G

    sap, T10

    - recommended dose +7.5% G sap, T11

    - recommendeddose +10% G sap, T

    12- 50% recommended dose + 6.25% G sap.

    The recommended dose of 300:100:200 kg N, P2O


    K2O ha-1 in the form of urea, SSP and MOP was used. The

    entire doses SSP fertilizers were applied as basal and N and Kfertilizers applied in 3 splits. In addition, 37.5 kg ZnSO

    4 and

    100 kg FeSO4 were also applied as per crop production guide.

    The seaweed sap extracts as per the treatment schedule wasgiven three times at 30, 75 and 110 days after planting.

    Yield, yield attributes and juice quality :Treatment wise yield attributes parameters were recorded

    at different growth stages. Cane juice analyses was carriedout immediately after harvesting and yield was calculated after


    Statistical analysis :Data were analysed using analysis of variance (ANOVA)

    following randomized block design by using Agress Software.Differences were considered significant at 5% level ofprobability.

    Research Findings and DiscussionThe findings of the present study as well as relevant

    discussion have been presented under following heads :

    Effect of seaweed extract on yield parameters of sugarcane :The chemical constituents of the of Kappaphycus

    alvarezii extract (K sap) and Glacilaria sp. (G sap) extract arepresented in Table 1. The use of seaweed extract increased allthe growth parameters measured for sugarcane with 10% Ksap treatment being significantly better than all the treatments.In general, a gradual increase in plant height, cane girth wasobserved with increased in seaweed extract application.

    Table 1 : Chemical properties of seaweed sapChemical properties of seaweedsap


    Gracilaria sp.

    pH 6.75 4.79

    EC (dS/m) 6.15 5.47

    Organic carbon % 0.71 0.62

    Total nitrogen % 0.103 0.038

    Total phosphorus % 0.007 0.002

    Total potassium % 11.099 5.968

    Total calcium % 13.473 5.446

    Total magnesium % 9.288 6.673

    Cu (mg/g) 0.359 0.371

    Zn (mg/g) 0.012 0.123

    Mn (mg/g) 0.395 0.187

    Fe (mg/g) 0.630 0.674

    Effect of seaweed extract on germination count ofsugarcane:

    The used of seaweed extract increased germinationcompared from the control plant. The germination count wasrecorded at 60 days after planting and it ranged from 29 to53% among Kappaphycus alvarezii (K sap) spray while inGlacilaria sp. (G sap) spray it ranged from 35 to 49 % (Table2). Highest germination count of 53% was recorded in T


    (100% NPK+10% K sap) and minimum germination count wasrecorded as 29 % in T

    3(50% NPK+6.25% K sap). This might

    be due to the existence of plant growth regulators, i.e.,cytokinin, gibberellin, trace elements, vitamins, andmicroelements in the extract. Similar results were reported



  • HIND AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND TRAINING INSTITUTE 306 Asian J. Soil Sci., (Dec., 2013) 8 (2) :

    presence of macro and micronutrients (Mooney and VanStaden, 1986; Blunden, 1991; Sridhar and Rengasamy, 2010).

    Effect of seaweed sap on cane girth, millable cane, singlecane weight and number of internodes of sugarcane :

    In sugarcane production, cane length, cane girth andnumber of millable canes assumes practical significance asthey are directly related to the productivity; and the numberof internodes in a cane is an indirect measure of growth ofcanes. It is an established fact that an increase in tilleringcapacity of sugarcane plant leads to the sizable increase inthe number of millable canes thus boosting the productivityof the sugarcane. Kappaphycus alvarezii (K sap) andGlacilaria sp. (G sap) at 10 % concentrations registered highervalues of cane girth, internodes length of millable cane, singlecane weight and number of internodes of millable cane butwere at par with 5.0 and 7.5% concentrations and weresignificantly superior over 2.5 % concentration. However, allthe K and G sap treatments showed their superiority in allstages over T

    1 (RDF control), T

    2 (RDF+ water spray) and T


    (50% RDF + 6.25% K sap) shown in Table 4 which might bedue to seaweed extracts promoted the growth characteristicssuch as length of internodes. In comparision of to control theshoot growth was accelerated in presence of seaweed extractswhich could be achieved by higher tiller production, increaseduptake and utilization of plant nutrients efficiently. Similarfindings were observed by Natarajan (1998); Tamilselvan(2000) and Duraiswamy (1986). These results might beattributed to the beneficial effect of seaweed extracts containnaturally occurring supplying nutrients, plant growthhormones (auxins, cytokines and gibberellins) as well as otherplant bio stimulants; e.g. amino acids, vitamins that could

    Table 2 : Effect of seaweed saps on cane germination countTreatments Germination count (%)

    T1: RDF 30.83

    T2: RDF + water spray 34.50

    T3: 50% RDF + 6.25% K sap 29.17

    T4: RDF +2.5% K sap 35.67

    T5: RDF +5% K sap 38.33

    T6: RDF +7.5% K sap 38.67

    T7: RDF + 10% K sap 53.17

    T8: RDF + 2.5% G sap 44.33

    T9: RDF +5% G sap 45.33

    T10: RDF + 7.5% G sap 48.00

    T11: RDF +10% G sap 49.17

    T12: 50% RDF + 6.25% G sap 29.96

    by Mohan et al. (1994); Rajkumar and Subramanian (1999)and Murugalakshmikumari et al. (2002).

    Effect of seaweed extract on plant height :The results presented in Table 3 showed that the height

    of the plants had increased with the application of both thesaps over control. The data on plant height indicated thatthere were differences among the treatments. However, themaximum height was increased by 25.54% compared to controlat harvest. At all the stages of the plant growth maximumheight was recorded by T

    7 (100 %NPK+K sap 10% spray) and

    lowest was recorded in T3 (50% NPK+6.25% K sap) at all the

    growth stages. The increased growth of these crops may bedue to the presence of growth promoting substances and

    Table 3 : Effect of seaweed sap on plant height of sugarcane (cm)Treatments 60 DAP 120 DAP 180 DAP 240 DAP Harvest

    T1: RDF 16.27 74.07 129.43 161.70 172.30

    T2: RDF+ water spray 17.32 75.70 131.13 162.63 183.13

    T3: 50% RDF+ 6.25% K sap 14.63 73.93 124.97 150.00 171.83

    T4: RDF+2.5% K sap 19.80 79.50 134.60 173.40 189.63

    T5: RDF+5% K sap 19.33 81.53 137.10 181.00 205.20

    T6: RDF+7.5% K sap 19.27 87.13 142.51 185.27 219.70

    T7: RDF+ 10% K sap 20.27 90.87 146.20 191.27 231.43

    T8: RDF+ 2.5% G sap 19.63 80.40 134.68 165.27 189.00

    T9: RDF+5% G sap 19.00 82.57 133.70 172.00 195.23

    T10: RDF+ 7.5% G sap 18.37 83.80 138.87 173.00 217.20

    T11: RDF+10% G sap 20.20 86.70 141.61 188.20 220.87

    T12: 50% RDF+6.25% G sap 15.20 82.67 135.70 162.43 181.80

    SEd 1.1468 1.4438 3.0791 4.7892 6.0278

    C.D. (P=0.05) 2.3783 2.9943 6.3857 9.9323 12.5009

    C.D. (P=0.01) 3.2326 4.0699 8.6795 13.5001 16.9914

    CV % 7.69 2.17 2.78 3.41 3.73



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    maintain photosynthetic rates, improve plant resistances,delay plant senescence and control cell division. The modeof action and extract physiological mechanism responsiblefor the beneficial effect of seaweed extracts on plants stillremains to be understood.

    Effect of seaweed sap on yield attributes of sugarcane :Effect of seaweed sap on length of millable cane of sugarcane:

    Length of millable cane was significantly differing in alltreatments (Table 2). Mean length of millable cane ranged from171.83 to 231.43 cm among K sap concentrations and 181.80 cm

    to 220.87 cm among G sap concentrations and the maximumlength of millable cane (231.43 cm) being recorded by T


    NPK + K sap 10% spray) and the lowest length of millablecane was recorded in T

    3 (50% RDF + 6.25% K sap) with values

    of 171.83 cm at harvest. The present investigation results arein consonance with the observation of different seaweedextracts induced varying growth responses (Bhosle et al.,1975). It has been suggested that hormones like cyctokininspresnts in the seaweed extract may responsible for theirgrowth promoting activity (Blunden and Wildgoose, 1977;Stephan et al., 1985; Hong et al., 1995; Strik and Van Stadan

    Table 4 : Effect of seaweed sap on cane girth of sugarcane (cm)Treatments 60 DAP 120 DAP 180 DAP 240 DAP Harvest

    T1: RDF 2.60 2.9 3.13 3.27 3.60

    T2: RDF+ water spray 2.63 2.9 3.27 3.43 3.70

    T3: 50% RDF+ 6.25% K sap 2.53 2.8 3.03 3.10 3.33

    T4: RDF+2.5% K sap 2.60 2.8 3.10 3.27 3.50

    T5: RDF+5% K sap 2.67 3.0 3.20 3.40 3.70

    T6: RDF+7.5% K sap 2.70 3.1 3.33 3.53 3.90

    T7: RDF+ 10% K sap 2.97 3.4 3.60 3.83 4.10

    T8: RDF+ 2.5% G sap 2.53 2.9 3.10 3.20 3.40

    T9: RDF+5% G sap 2.70 3.0 3.07 3.33 3.60

    T10: RDF+ 7.5% G sap 2.77 3.0 3.20 3.33 3.70

    T11: RDF+10% G sap 2.90 3.3 3.40 3.63 3.90

    T12: 50% RDF+6.25% G sap 2.50 3.0 3.00 3.17 3.40

    SEd 0.1277 0.1277 0.0834 0.1391 0.1636

    C.D. (P=0.05) 0.2649 0.2649 0.1729 0.2884 0.3392

    C.D. (P=0.01) 0.3600 0.3600 0.2350 0.3920 0.4610

    CV% 5.85 5.85 3.19 5.05 5.48

    Table 5 : Effect of seaweed sap on sugarcane yield and yield parameters

    TreatmentsInternodeslength (cm)

    Single cane weight(kg)

    No. of internodesYield(t ha-1)

    % yield over control

    T1: RDF 8.80 2.51 17 101.56 0

    T2: RDF+ water spray 9.70 2.62 17 104.79 3.08

    T3: 50% RDF+ 6.25% K sap 6.00 2.45 16 98.52 -3.08

    T4: RDF+2.5% K sap 9.10 3.28 19 110.37 7.98

    T5: RDF+5% K sap 10.20 3.42 20 112.80 9.64

    T6: RDF+7.5% K sap 10.30 4.10 21 113.0 10.12

    T7: RDF+ 10% K sap 12.30 4.76 24 115.6 12.14

    T8: RDF+ 2.5% G sap 9.80 2.63 18 107.8 5.78

    T9: RDF+5% G sap 9.30 2.75 19 109.3 7.08

    T10: RDF+ 7.5% G sap 10.00 3.30 20 110.58 8.15

    T11: RDF+10% G sap 11.40 4.26 21 113.45 11.70

    T12: 50% RDF+6.25% G sap 8.60 2.49 17 101.31 -0.24

    SEd 0.7625 0.1055 1.6772 1.5489

    C.D. (P=0.05) 1.5813 0.2188 3.4784 3.2123

    C.D. (P=0.01) 2.1493 0.2973 4.7279 4.3662

    CV% 9.70 4.02 10.76 1.68



  • HIND AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND TRAINING INSTITUTE 308 Asian J. Soil Sci., (Dec., 2013) 8 (2) :

    1997). Yvin (1994) is of the opinion that these growthpromoting effects of seaweed extracts were due to plantgrowth regulators like betaines and oligosaccharides presentin the extract.

    Effect of seaweed sap on cane yield of sugarcane :The mean cane yield of sugarcane ranged from 98 to

    115.6 t ha-1 among K sap spray. Among G sap spray cane yieldvaried from 101.31 to 113.45 t ha-1. Among the treatments,application of 10% G sap as T

    11 (100% NPK + 10% G sap) as

    well as 10% K sap as T7(100% NPK+10% K sap) being at par,

    recorded 18.07 to19.54 % higher cane yield over all other thetreatments. Cane yield of T

    3 (50% NPK+6.5% K sap) found to

    be lowest (98 t ha-1) (Table 5). Yield increases in seaweed-treated plants are might be due to the associated with thehormonal substances present in the extracts, especiallycytokinins (Featonby-Smith and Van Staden, 1983).

    Effect of seaweed sap on quality parameters of sugarcane :Quality of the crops is very important in deciding the

    economic value of the produce. In sugarcane, brix %, CCS %and sucrose % are the deciding factors for quality assessment.Hence, it is essential to study the effect of seaweed sap onquality parameters of sugarcane for deciding the value of theproduce and become utmost important for securing higherquality.

    Juice quality in sugarcane is determined by the relativeproportion of sucrose and other soluble solids. Sucrose is acrucial factor which decides the purity and CCS %. Sucroseper cent represents the amount of sugar in the juice andexpressed as pol percent. Brix per cent represents the solublesolids in the sugarcane juice. The purity represents the

    proportion of sugar to total solids present in the juice. Thecommercial cane sugar per cent represents the actual qualityof sugar in the cane and hence assumes an important positionin commercial value of sugarcane. In the present investigation,10% K sap spray and 10% G Sap spray responded better injuice quality compared to control (Table 6). Brix per cent ofsugarcane juice was increased by (6.38%) at T

    7 (100% NPK+

    10% K sap) and 6.16% increased in T3 (100% NPK+ 10% G

    sap) while compared to the control. Similarly, CCS per cent ofsugarcane juice was influenced by various doses of seaweedsaps. Foliar spray of 10% K sap and 10% G sap being at par,recorded 13.01% and 12.91 % higher CCS per cent over controlin all treatments. In 10% K sap and 10% G sap being at par,recorded 89.65 and 88.42 % higher purity per cent over control.The purity per cent of sugarcane juice under T

    3 (50%

    NPK+6.5% K sap) was found lowest (86.27%) while comparedfrom the control plot. Foliar spray of 10% K sap and 10% Gsap being at par, recorded 0.98% and 0.84% higher reducingsugar over control (0.70%). Nitrogen is one of the mostimportant macronutrients, required by the plant and itinfluences the productivity and juice quality (Torres et al.,2004). Nitrogen contents was increase by foliar spray ofseaweed which may inturn improve the juice quality ofsugarcane. The highest reducing sugar contents of sugarcanewere observed at higher concentration of Kappaphycusalvarezii (K sap) and Glacilaria sp. (G sap). Such a rise inreducing sugar contents may be attributed to the increasedavailability and absorption of necessary elements (Ca, Na, K,Mg, N and Zn) present in the seaweed extracts (SivasankariRamya et al., 2011; Anantharaj and Venkatesalu, 2001, 2002;Erulan et al., 2009).

    Table 6 : Effect of seaweed sap on sugar quality parameters of sugarcaneTreatments Brix (%) Sucrose (%) Purity (%) CCS (%) Reducing sugar (%)

    T1: RDF 19.81 17.31 86.75 11.83 0.70

    T2: RDF+ water spray 20.06 17.36 87.71 11.96 0.75

    T3: 50% RDF+ 6.25% K sap 19.78 17.20 86.27 11.79 0.60

    T4: RDF+2.5% K sap 20.61 18.30 88.20 12.50 0.83

    T5: RDF+5% K sap 20.76 17.31 88.31 12.62 0.84

    T6: RDF+7.5% K sap 20.91 18.57 89.44 12.79 0.86

    T7: RDF+ 10% K sap 21.16 18.71 89.65 13.01 0.98

    T8: RDF+ 2.5% G sap 20.56 18.13 87.62 12.62 0.90

    T9: RDF+5% G sap 20.71 18.29 88.13 12.65 0.79

    T10: RDF+ 7.5% G sap 20.81 18.41 88.39 12.73 0.83

    T11: RDF+10% G sap 21.11 18.67 88.42 12.91 0.84

    T12: 50%RDF+6.25% G sap 20.21 18.12 87.89 12.49 0.61

    SEd 0.3405 0.4130 0.5319 0.2034 0.0496

    C.D. (P=0.05) 0.7061 0.8564 1.1030 0.4219 0.1029

    C.D. (P=0.01) 0.9597 1.1641 1.4992 0.5735 0.1399

    CV% 2.03 2.80 0.74 1.99 7.68



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    Conclusion :It is concluded from the study that foliar applications

    of K. alvarezii and Glacilaria sp. sap at 10% and 10%concentrations signi?cantly increased the yield, yieldattributes and juice quality of sugarcane when compared tocontrol. The study also emphasizes that seaweed extracts canbe effectively used as organic biostimulants to the plants.Hence, this simple practice of application of ecofriendlyseaweed liquid fertilizers to the sugarcane is recommended tothe growers for attaining better sprout germination, yield, yieldattributes and juices quality sugarcane.

    Acknowledgement :We wish to express our heartfelt thanks to Director, Central

    Salt and marine Chemicals research Institute (CSMCRI),Bhavnagar, Gujarat for providing Kappaphycus alvarezii andGlacilaria sp extract. Further, thanks are extended to SugarcaneBreeding Institute, Coimbatore for juice analysis of our samples.

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    8th of Excellence


    Zhang, X. and Schmidt, R.E. (2000). Hormone-containing productsimpact on antioxidant status of tall fescue and creeping bentgrasssubjected to drought. Crop Sci., 40: 13441349.

    Zhang, X., Ervin, E.H. and Schmidt, E.R. (2003). Plant growthregulators can enhance the recovery of Kentucky bluegrass sod fromheat injury. Crop Sci., 43 : 952956.




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