Among bands with approx. 372 and 274

Among all treatments tested, a higher concentration of
Rubisco enzyme was recorded in the seedlings treated with 100% U and those
sprayed with 5% ULAE, as compared to the control. The highest Rubisco activity was
observed in seedlings grown in U 100% (Fig. 6). 

Rubisco
activase transcripts from Zea mays leaves tended to be less abundant in
all treatments compared to the control, suggesting that Rubisco from Zea
mays leaves might be less activated. The analysis of the final preparation
by agarose gel identified two bands with approx. 372 and 274 bp (Fig 7). 
Conversely, the supplementation of 100% U tended to promote the
accumulation of Rubisco activase transcripts. Even if measurements of
steady-state mRNA content do not necessarily reflect the rate of translation or
protein synthesis (Boschetti et al., 1990), our results suggest that
application of ULAE to the growth medium may either up- or down-regulate the
carboxylation activity catalysed by Rubisco by modifying the quantity of the
enzyme and/or by changing regulation of its activity. The presence of Rubisco activase explains how Rubisco can achieve and maintain a high
activation state in vivo at normal levels of CO2 in the presence
of millimolar concentrations of RuBP (Salvucci et al. 1985). The occurrence of activase in
several higher plant species provides evidence to a fundamental role of
activase in the control of Rubisco enzyme
in higher plants. It was particularly important that activase was detected in
maize, a C4 plant, since the CO2 concentration is higher at the site
of carboxylation (Hatch, 1971),
while RuBP is present in millimolar concentrations. Thus, the occurrence of
activase would be anticipated if the major function of activase is to maintain Rubisco in the activated state and prevent RuBP
deactivation by catalyzing the activation of the tight binding enzyme-RuBP
complex.

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 The present study investigated the effect of different concentrations of ULAE
added to the growth medium or applied as a foliar spray on the seedling of Zea mays. The study showed an increase
in the vegetative growth parameters by the application of seaweed extract of Ulva lactuca. The results of the study coincided with those of the earlier studies on
Phaseolus vulgaris L. (Kocira et al. 2013).
The use of ULAE as
a foliar spray significantly promoted growth and physiology of Zea mays.
There was a significant increase in the growth and biochemical constituents of Zea mays when the seedlings were sprayed
with 0.5% or 1% of ULAE, while at the
higher concentration seedlings growth was inhibited. Similar
observations were also reported in earlier studies where seaweed extracts were applied as sprays under
controlled experiments resulting in the increased height and improved root
growth in tomatoes (Zodape et al 2011). Similar results were also reported in spinach, Vigna mungo, and tomatoes (Featon
by-Smith and van Staden 1983; Ganapathy and Sivakumar 2013, Hernández-Herrera et al. 2013; Alothyqic et al. 2016). The biochemical constituents including total
photosynthetic pigment content of seedlings sprayed with 5% ULAE were significantly reduced, and the percent
reduction recorded was 36%. This
reduction in total photosynthetic pigment content of the seedlings sprayed with
different concentrations of ULAE could be attributed to the decrease in both chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b. An increase in
the chlorophyll content in the leaves after the application of extracts from
seaweeds was reported by Blunden et al., (1996);
however, a negative effect on this trait was recorded by Venkataraman Kumar and
Mohan (1997). Further studies
on the field applications are needed to provide practical recommendations on
the positive effects of seaweed extracts on the growth and development of
maize. 

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