Table of Contents
Advances in Botany
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 815769, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/815769
Review Article

Phytomelatonin: Discovery, Content, and Role in Plants

Department of Plant Biology (Plant Physiology), Faculty of Biology, University of Murcia, 30100 Murcia, Spain

Received 16 January 2014; Accepted 19 March 2014; Published 10 April 2014

Academic Editor: Scott Finlayson

Copyright © 2014 Marino B. Arnao. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) is an indolic compound derived from tryptophan. Usually identified as a neurotransmitter or animal hormone, this compound was detected in plants in 1995. Interest in knowing the melatonin content of plants and its possible role therein is growing, as indicated by the increasing number of related publications. Melatonin is present in all plant species studied, with large variations in its level depending on the plant organ or tissue. It seems to be more abundant in aromatic plants and in leaves than in seeds. Regarding its physiological function in plants, melatonin shows auxin activity and is an excellent antioxidant, regulating the growth of roots, shoots, and explants, activating seed germination and rhizogenesis (lateral- and adventitious-roots), and delaying induced leaf senescence. Its ability to strengthen plants subjected to abiotic stress such as drought, cold, heat, salinity, chemical pollutants, herbicides, and UV radiation makes melatonin an interesting candidate for use as a natural biostimulating substance for treating field crops.