Honors College
 

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Major

Botany

Advisor(s)

Philip Fanning, YongJiang Zhang

Committee Members

Lily Calderwood

Graduation Year

2022

Publication Date

Fall 12-2022

Abstract

Wild blueberries are an economically important crop for Maine, and with warming temperatures leading to increased periods of drought and increased soil moisture deficits, it is important to find new ways to combat the effects of drought. In this study, we aimed to look at the effect of foliar-applied glycine betaine applications on wild lowbush blueberries in both field and greenhouse experiments. The product being tested was Bluestim, a foliar-applied product containing >96% pure glycine betaine sold by Biobest. The product is claimed to work as an osmoprotectant allowing the plant to maintain turgor pressure and protect enzymes and macromolecules from oxidation when under stress. We measured the impact of this product on water potential, chlorophyll concentration, stomatal conductance, evapotranspiration, soil moisture, stem length, leaf buds, fruiting buds, leaf and fruit drop. This study did not find positive effects of glycine betaine applications on wild blueberries under drought conditions, but it provided interesting data suggesting it could work under well-watered conditions. Plants that were treated with glycine betaine and irrigated showed higher chlorophyll concentration and transpiration rates.

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