• elicitors;
  • ethyl acetate;
  • growth stages;
  • methyl jasmonate;
  • soyasaponins

Abstract:  The beneficial health effects of soybeans may be enhanced by increasing bioactive compounds including soyasaponins (ssp). The objective of this study is to elucidate the effect of elicitors sprayed on Ozark variety soybeans, on ssp content. Different concentrations of elicitors, ethyl acetate (EA) and methyl jasmonate (MJ), were sprayed at 4 different growth stages (1-bloom, 2-pod development, 3-seed development, and 4-seed maturity). Seeds were ground, defatted, ssp was extracted and identified and quantified with HPLC. Elicitor and growth stage had an effect on βg and βa contents of soybeans compared with control (P < 0.05). Elicitor had an effect on total ssp content (P < 0.001) and αg and γg content of soybeans compared with control (P < 0.05). Total ssp content of EA 0.05 M, MJ 0.001 M, and 0.005 M sprayed soybeans were higher than EA 0.001 M, which is higher than control (P < 0.05; 3.62, 3.56, 3.56, 3.29, and 2.98 μmol/g soybean, respectively). The overall effect of elicitor on total ssp content was not dependent on growth stage, however, elicitors sprayed at growth stages 1, 2, and 3 showed differences among elicitor applied soybeans. Elicitors applied at growth stage 4 did not have any effect on total ssp content compared to control. Elicitors EA 0.05 M, MJ 0.001, and 0.005 M can be applied on any growth stage to increase total saponin content of soybean variety Ozark. Higher saponin content may improve the beneficial health effects of soybean consumption.