The influence of plant extracts on root biostimulation in different strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duchense) cultivars

Ewa M. Furmanczyk

The National Institute of Horticultural Research

Malgorzata Tartanus

The National Institute of Horticultural Research

Eligio Malusà

The National Institute of Horticultural Research


The use of botanical extracts is considered an important tool to stimulate plant growth, reduce the use of synthetic pesticides, or both. The impact of hydro-alcoholic extracts of Calendula officinalis, Salvia officinalis, Tagetes sp., and Taraxacum officinale on growth and root development of plants of five strawberry cultivars (‘Albion’, ‘Florence’, ‘Magnum’, ‘Rumba’, and ‘San Andreas’) grown in semi-field controlled conditions was tested in the present study. The vigor and growth of the five strawberry genotypes were significantly affected by the extracts, with cv. Florence consistently producing more biomass than any other variety compared to the untreated control. The extracts also impacted the root system differently depending on the specific genotype. However, the C. officinalis flower extract consistently improved the root architecture, increasing the value of five out of six parameters compared to the control. The genotype-related response points to the strong influence of the “variety factor” on the possible effect of plant extracts considered for biostimulation, plant protection purposes, or both, prompting the need for additional work to unravel the bottlenecks in using botanicals.


Fragaria × ananassa, biostimulant, organic farming, root architecture

Acheuk, F., Basiouni, S., Shehata, A.A., Dick, K., Hajri, H., Lasram, S., Yilmaz, M., Emekci, M., Tsiamis, G., Spona-Friedl, M., May-Simera, H., Eisenreich, W., Ntougias, S. (2022). Status and prospects of botanical biopesticides in Europe and Mediterranean countries. Biomolecules, 12(2), 311. DOI:

Afonso, A.F., Pereira, O.R., Fernandes, Â., Calhelha, R.C., Silva, A.M.S., Ferreira, I.C.F.R., Cardoso, S.M. (2019). Phytochemical composition and bioactive effects of Salvia africana, Salvia officinalis ‘Icterina’ and Salvia mexicana aqueous extracts. Molecules, 24(23), 4327. DOI:

Ariza, M.T., Miranda, L., Gómez-Mora, J.A., Medina, J.J., Lozano, D., Gavilán, P., Soria, C., Martínez-Ferri, E. (2021). Yield and fruit quality of strawberry cultivars under different irrigation regimes. Agronomy, 11(2), 261. DOI:

Azmir, J., Zaidul, I.S.M., Rahman, M.M., Sharif, K.M., Mohamed, A., Sahena, F., Jahurul, M.H.A., Ghafoor, K., Norulaini, N.A.N., Omar, A.K.M. (2013). Techniques for extraction of bioactive compounds from plant materials: A review. J. Food Eng., 117(4), 426–436. DOI:

Cheynier, V., Comte, G., Davies, K.M., Lattanzio, V., Martens, S. (2013). Plant phenolics: recent advances on their biosynthesis, genetics, and ecophysiology. Plant Physiol. Biochem., 72, 1–20. DOI:

El-Miniawy, S.M., Ragab, M.E., Youssef, S.M., Metwally, A.A. (2014). Influence of foliar spraying of seaweed extract on growth, yield and quality of strawberry plants. J. Appl. Sci. Res., 10(2), 88–94.

European Commission (2020). Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: A Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system. Available: [date of access: 10.01.2023].

European Commission (2021). Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/1165 of 15 July 2021 authorising certain products and substances for use in organic production and establishing their lists. Available: [date of access: 10.01.2023].

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2021). FAOSTAT statistical database. [Rome]: FAO, c1997. Available: [date of access: 10.01.2023].

Glick, B.R., Penrose, D.M., Li, J. (1998). A model for the lowering of plant ethylene concentrations by plant growth-promoting bacteria. J. Theor. Biol., 190(1), 63–68. DOI:

Godlewska, K., Ronga, D., Michalak, I. (2021). Plant extracts – importance in sustainable agriculture. Italian J. Agron., 16(2). DOI:

Gruber, B.D., Giehl, R.F.H., Friedel, S., von Wirén, N. (2013). Plasticity of the arabidopsis root system under nutrient deficiencies. Plant Physiol., 163(1), 161–179. DOI:

Hartmann, T. (2007). From waste products to ecochemicals: fifty years research of plant secondary metabolism. Phytochemistry, 68(22–24), 2831–2846. DOI:

Hinsinger, P., Plassard, C., Tang, C., Jaillard, B. (2003). Origins of root-mediated pH changes in the rhizosphere and their responses to environmental constraints: a review. Plant Soil, 248(1), 43–59. DOI:

Khursheed, A., Rather, M.A., Jain, V., Wani, A.R., Rasool, S., Nazir, R., Malik, N.A., Majid, S.A. (2022). Plant based natural products as potential ecofriendly and safer biopesticides: a comprehensive overview of their advantages over conventional pesticides, limitations and regulatory aspects. Microbial Path., 173(A), 105854. DOI:

Klamkowski, K., Treder, W. (2008). Response to drought stress of three strawberry cultivars grown under greenhouse conditions. J. Fruit Ornam. Plant Res., 16(16), 179–188.

Kowalczyk, K., Gajc-Wolska, J., Mirgos, M., Geszprych, A., Kowalczyk, W., Sieczko, L., Niedzińska, M., Gajewski, M. (2020). Mineral nutrients needs of cucumber and its yield in protected winter cultivation, with HPS and LED supplementary lighting. Scientia Hortic., 265, 109217. DOI:

Lambrecht, M., Okon, Y., Broek, A.V., Vanderleyden, J. (2000). Indole-3-acetic acid: a reciprocal signalling molecule in bacteria–plant interactions. Trends Microbiol., 8(7), 298–300. DOI:

López-Bucio, J., Cruz-Ramírez, A., Herrera-Estrella, L. (2003). The role of nutrient availability in regulating root architecture. Curr. Opinion Plant Biol., 6(3), 280–287. DOI:

Malamy, J.E. (2005). Intrinsic and environmental response pathways that regulate root system architecture. Plant Cell Environ., 28(1), 67–77. DOI:

Mattner, S.W., Milinkovic, M., Arioli, T. (2018). Increased growth response of strawberry roots to a commercial extract from Durvillaea potatorum and Ascophyllum nodosum. J. Appl. Phycol., 30(5), 2943–2951. DOI:

Mia, M.J., Furmanczyk, E.M., Golian, J., Kwiatkowska, J., Malusá, E., Neri, D. (2021). Living mulch with selected herbs for soil management in organic apple orchard. Horticulturae, 7(3), 59. DOI:

Nelofer, J., Andrabi, K.I., Riffat, J. (2017). Calendula officinalis – an important medicinal plant with potential biological properties. Proc. Indian Nat. Sci. Acad., 83(4), 769–787. DOI:

Osmont, K.S., Sibout, R., Hardtke, C.S. (2007). Hidden branches: developments in root system architecture. Ann. Rev. Plant Biol., 58(1), 93–113. DOI:

de Pedro, L., Perera-Fernández, L.G., López-Gallego, E., Pérez-Marcos, M., Sanchez, J.A. (2020). The effect of cover crops on the biodiversity and abundance of ground-dwelling arthropods in a Mediterranean pear orchard. Agronomy, 10(4), 580. DOI:

Petrovska, B. (2012). Historical review of medicinal plants’ usage. Pharmacogn. Rev., 6(11), 1–5. DOI:

R Core Team. (2020). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Available: [date of access: 22.06.2022].

Salehi, B., Valussi, M., Morais-Braga, M.F.B., Carneiro, J.N.P., Leal, A.L.A.B., Coutinho, H.D.M., Vitalini, S., Kręgiel, D., Antolak, H., Sharifi-Rad, M., Silva, N.C.C., Yousaf, Z., Martorell, M., Iriti, M., Carradori, S., Sharifi-Rad, J. (2018). Tagetes spp. essential oils and other extracts: chemical characterization and biological activity. Molecules, 23(11), 2847. DOI:

Seiber, J.N., Coats, J., Duke, S.O., Gross, A.D. (2014). Biopesticides: state of the art and future opportunities. J. Agric. Food Chem., 62(48), 1613–11619. DOI:

Tartanus, M., Kowalczyk, W., Malusà, E. (2022). Effect of plant extracts on strawberry plants in relation to Melolontha spp. grubs damage. Acta Hortic.,1354, 181–186. DOI:

Turchen, L.M., Cosme-Júnior, L., Guedes, R.N.C. (2020). Plant-derived insecticides under meta-analyses: status, biases, and knowledge gaps. Insects, 11(8), 532. DOI:

Weemstra, M., Mommer, L., Visser, E.J.W., van Ruijven, J., Kuyper, T.W., Mohren, G.M.J., Sterck, F.J. (2016). Towards a multidimensional root trait framework: A tree root review. New Phytol., 211(4), 1159–1169. DOI:

Wright, A.F., Bailey, J.S. (2001). Organic carbon, total carbon, and total nitrogen determinations in soils of variable calcium carbonate contents using a Leco CN-2000 dry combustion analyzer. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal., 32(19 –20), 3243–3258. DOI:

Yuan, B., Sun, J. (2022). Bibliometric analysis of strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) research from Plant Sciences category based on Web of Science. Folia Hortic., 34(2), 1–15. DOI:



Ewa M. Furmanczyk 
The National Institute of Horticultural Research
Malgorzata Tartanus 
The National Institute of Horticultural Research
Eligio Malusà 
The National Institute of Horticultural Research


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Articles are made available under the conditions CC BY 4.0 (until 2020 under the conditions CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).
Submission of the paper implies that it has not been published previously, that it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere.

The author signs a statement of the originality of the work, the contribution of individuals, and source of funding.