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Efficiency And Bioavailability Of New Synthetic Strigolactone Mimics With Potential For Sustainable Agronomical Applications

Lorenzo Borghi, Claudio Screpanti, Alexandre Lumbroso, Mathilde Lachia, Christian Gübeli, Alain De Mesmaeker

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Abstract Purpose Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) play important roles in agriculture because of their ability to improve plant resilience against abiotic and biotic stresses. AMF as a technology to promote a more sustainable agriculture holds great potential, yet many factors affect the efficiency of this plant-microbe symbiosis leading to inconsistency in performance. The beneficial symbiosis between plants and AM fungi, also-known-as the mycorrhiza is promoted by strigolactones (SLs), carotenoid derivatives active as phytohormones and rhizosphere signals. Natural SLs are effective at extremely low concentrations, however their bioavailability in soil is scarce because their biosynthesis and exudation are plant-regulated, their degradation is fast and their mobility in soil is limited. Methods Through a broad synthetic chemistry approach, we explored how structurally diverse SL derivatives could improve hyphal branching of Gigaspora spp AMF under laboratory conditions and thus possibly boost mycorrhization into soil. Results We tested twenty-six different derivatives and we could highlight structural enhancements to promote hyphal branching of in vitro germinated AMF spores at equal, and in some cases higher levels compared to natural SLs. A subset of these derivatives was tested for bioavailability, but no clear correlation was found with their activity on hyphal branching. Conclusion This study suggests that we could use a targeted, chemical-design approach to synthetize new SL derivatives to enable enhanced promotion of mycorrhization and potentially enhanced bioavailability compared to natural SLs. Due to the roles of AMF in crop production systems, these results highlight new innovative approaches to promote sustainable agriculture.