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J Plant Physiol. 2003 Aug;160(8):859-63.

Chitosan and chitin oligomers increase phenylalanine ammonia-lyase and tyrosine ammonia-lyase activities in soybean leaves.

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  • 1Department of Plant Science, Macdonald Campus of McGill University, 21,111 Lakeshore, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC, H9X 3V9, Canada.


Phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL, EC and tyrosine ammonia-lyase (TAL, 4.3.1.), the key enzymes of the phenylpropanoid pathway, are inducible in response to biotic (such as chitin from fungal cell walls) and abiotic cues. Application of chitin and chitosan to soybean leaf tissues caused increased activity of PAL and TAL enzymes. The elevation of enzyme activity was dependent on the chain length of the oligomers and time after treatment. The hexamer of chitin and pentamer of chitosan produced the maximum activities at 36 h after treatment as compared to controls. Total phenolic content of soybean leaves increased following chitosan and chitin oligomer treatments, showing a positive correlation between enzyme activity and total phenolic content.

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