How Horsetail Extract Affects Basil Growth, Oil Production, and Chemistry

Greg Howard
15th May, 2024

How Horsetail Extract Affects Basil Growth, Oil Production, and Chemistry

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study from Shahid Beheshti University explored the impact of silicon-rich horsetail extract on sweet basil's growth and essential oil composition
  • Higher concentrations of horsetail extract significantly boosted sweet basil's growth, with the 2% treatment showing the most substantial increases in plant height, leaf number, and biomass
  • The 2% horsetail extract treatment also enhanced sweet basil's phytochemical traits, including higher levels of phenols, flavonoids, anthocyanins, and antioxidant activity
Sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) is a widely used aromatic herb known for its culinary and therapeutic properties. It is rich in bioactive compounds such as phenolic acids, flavonoids, and essential oils, which contribute to its health benefits and preservation effects[2]. Recent research from Shahid Beheshti University aimed to explore the impact of silicon-rich horsetail extract on the morphological traits, growth, and essential oil composition of sweet basil[1]. The study employed a randomized complete block design with three replications and applied foliar treatments of horsetail extract at concentrations of 0%, 0.5%, 1%, and 2% on sweet basil plants at the 6-8 leaf stage. Several growth parameters were measured, including plant height, number of leaves per plant, number of sub-branches, leaf area index, fresh weight, and dry weight. Additionally, the study assessed total anthocyanin, total phenol, total flavonoid content, antioxidant activity, and essential oil composition. The findings revealed that increasing the concentration of horsetail extract significantly enhanced the growth and phytochemical traits of sweet basil. Specifically, the 2% horsetail extract treatment resulted in substantial increases in plant height (49.79%), number of leaves per plant (45.61%), number of sub-branches (91.09%), leaf area index (99.78%), fresh weight (52.78%), and dry weight (109.25%) compared to the control group. The study also found that the highest content of total phenol (2.12 mg GAE/g DW), total flavonoid (1.73 mg RE/g DW), total anthocyanin (0.83 mg C3G/g DW), and antioxidant activity (184.3 µg/ml) were observed in the 2% extract treatment. These results align with previous findings that ethanol extracts of basil, rich in phenolic acids and flavonoids, exhibit high antioxidant activity[2]. This suggests that the application of silicon-rich horsetail extract can further enhance these beneficial properties in sweet basil. Moreover, the content of essential oil in sweet basil increased with higher concentrations of horsetail extract, with the 2% treatment showing a 134.78% increase compared to the control. Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis identified the main components of the essential oil as methyl eugenol, eugenol, 1,8-cineole, linalool, and (Z)-caryophyllene. Notably, the concentrations of eugenol, 1,8-cineole, and linalool increased with higher horsetail extract concentrations, while methyl eugenol and (Z)-caryophyllene decreased. The role of silicon in enhancing plant growth and stress tolerance has been well-documented. Silicon is absorbed by plants in the form of silicic acid, which can improve growth and physiological responses under stress conditions[3]. In wheat, silicon supplementation has been shown to improve growth, gas exchange, tissue water content, and membrane stability, while reducing oxidative damage and electrolyte leakage under stress conditions[4]. The current study demonstrates that silicon-rich horsetail extract can similarly boost the growth and phytochemical properties of sweet basil, making it a valuable tool for organic essential oil production and medicinal plant cultivation. In summary, the research conducted by Shahid Beheshti University highlights the benefits of using silicon-rich horsetail extract as a foliar spray to enhance the growth, phytochemical content, and essential oil composition of sweet basil. This study builds on previous findings regarding the therapeutic potential and preservation effects of basil[2], as well as the benefits of silicon in plant growth and stress tolerance[3][4]. By incorporating these insights, the study provides a promising approach to improving the yield and quality of medicinal plants, particularly in organic farming systems.

HerbsBiochemPlant Science


Main Study

1) Effect of common horsetail extract on growth characteristics, essential oil yield and chemical compositions of basil (Ocimum basilicum L.).

Published 15th May, 2024

Journal: Scientific reports

Issue: Vol 14, Issue 1, May 2024

Related Studies

2) Toxicity, Antioxidant Activity, and Phytochemicals of Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) Leaves Cultivated in Southern Punjab, Pakistan.

3) Role of silicon in plant stress tolerance: opportunities to achieve a sustainable cropping system.

4) The defensive role of silicon in wheat against stress conditions induced by drought, salinity or cadmium.

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