Pure Cytokinine & Non-Edible Fruit Shell Extract

Candle_Tree(Kolkata, India)July 15, 2005

Hello Everyone!

I saw a tiny bottle of Pure Cytokinine and Non-Edible Fruit Shell Extract on the shop shelf recently. The product promised great growth for plants, plenty of fruits/flowers due to maximum number of female cell division. The instruction was to mix the entire contents with 250ml pure, raw milk and later to be added to 15 liters of water. It can then be sprayed.

Would someone please comment on the effectiveness of this claim? I would like to know before I buy a bottle. Thanks very much in advance.

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Plants already have all the cytokinin they need, but it is suppressed by auxin produced in apical meristems, particularly in apically dominant plants. Think of the relationship between cytokinin and auxin as an antagonistic one, each growth regulator (hormone, if you prefer) trying to overcome the effects of the other. Removing apical meristems, which reduces auxin flow, would be the equivalent of applying cytokinin (if a true synthetic form of the growth regulator exists). The effect of removing apical meristems from the plant is the cessation of branch elongation (the one pruned) and the activation of dormant axillary buds behind the pruning cut(s). It makes plants bushy (pinching).

Effectiveness of topical applications would vary tremendously from plant to plant. Water & its accompanying solutes are transported through the cuticular or epidermal cells of some leaves & twigs by diffusion, where it is adsorbed on the surface of plasmallene (a kind of protoplasm that forms cell walls) where, by osmosis, it passes through cell membranes to cytoplasm. In some plants, water is taken in through open stomata. How much water (and solutes) can be absorbed through leaf & twig tissues varies by species, & within species, cultural conditions have great influence. Ambient temperature, relative humidity, leaf senescence (age), light intensity, nutritional status of the plant all have impact on how readily water is taken in through leaves & twigs.

From what I know of plant physiology, I am unable to determine by what mechanism cytokinin might promote additional blooms except that: if it was an effective product, it would promote additional branching and eventually possibly more blooms, but as noted above, simply removing apical meristems accomplishes the same thing.

My first inclination in assessing the usefulness would be to compare it to the recent rage of inoculating soils with micorrhizal fungi. Since these fungi are largely plant, or at least genus specific, they are of no value in soils of 99% of the plants we grow. As is usual, others may have a different take.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2005 at 5:03PM
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Candle_Tree(Kolkata, India)

Hello Al!

Thank you very much for your reply. From what you have written I presume that Cytokinine is not exactly the elixir to the plants as the product seems to claim?

Best regards,

    Bookmark   July 15, 2005 at 11:59PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I did some additional searching for more information on cytokinin applications. I've found that there have been many experiments, mostly on agricultural crops, where applications have increased inflorescence and yields in some plants. So, there can be no doubt that a synthetic form does exist and that it does have an effect on flower production. Some applications were topical, and others were introduced into xylem stream via roots.

So, allow me to backtrack a bit & say that while it is true that cytokinin is produced in virtually (perhaps actually) all the garden or potted plants we grow, and its effects are easily manipulated (removing a. meristems), there may be some value to the claim being made about increased flowering. Two things are sure: It's effectiveness would depend on what they are marketing (what product, concentration, method of delivery, etc.) and on whether the plant responds to foliar applications of the product (is, in fact, able to absorb the product through leaf &/or stem surfaces).

Just to satisfy my curiosity, I think I would take a chance & see if it works. I'm currently doing much the same thing with "Messenger" applications on about 200 plants. I'll be doing my 4th application this weekend, & I'm not convinced one way or the other that it does or doesn't work - though I'm leaning toward saying there is some benefit(s) in applying it - expensive though. If you decide to try it, please come back & let us know what you think.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2005 at 11:10AM
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Candle_Tree(Kolkata, India)

Hi Al!

I must thank you for doing research/reading on Cytokinine and sharing it. I was trying to read a little on the subject as well and came across a blog of Dr. Ronald A. de Fossard (rfossard@OntheNet.com.au) and here is what he has to say:

Group of Hormonoes: Cytokinine

Developing Place: Root points, germinating seeds, increasing fabrics with protein synthesis

Transport in the plant: nonpolar

Effect: Promotion of metabolism, cell aspect ratio and cell division, inhibition of apical dominance, delay of aging procedures.

Sure, if I decide to go ahead with the use of Cytokinine (on a few plants at least for the sake of experiment) I'll certainly share the result on the forum.

Sorry, but I'm new to gardening and live in India (where it maybe known differently). So, when you say 'Messenger' application I'm in the lost mode!


    Bookmark   July 17, 2005 at 12:04AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

There is a discussion about it (Messenger) on the Botany Forum. There are links in the thread that will allow you to explore the product. My comments, after 3 applications, are near the end of the thread.


Here is a link that might be useful: C'mon - follow me! I'll take you over to the Messenger discussion.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2005 at 1:22PM
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Candle_Tree(Kolkata, India)


Thank you very much for leading me to the Messenger thread.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 9:16PM
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Candle_Tree(Kolkata, India)

Hi Everyone!

This is to let those interested know that although I did not go for Cytokinine use, my mom did. She is into growing vegetables in pots and after two applications of Cytokinine, says did not notice any particular change or output. Maybe this thing works but for her, due to whatever reasons it didn't.

Candle Tree

    Bookmark   August 13, 2005 at 6:29AM
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john_z(Z 7b Ga.)

Candle Tree - First, I am extremely suspicious about the commercial claims of horticultural products in the U.S., or from anywhere else for that matter - especially the big companies. I'm glad you saved your money unless you had it to spare for an experiment. But if you did experiment, would you know what ingredients were actually in the "potion" to engender a specific desired effect (how and why) and could you say it was not other cultural or environmental factors that improved or declined plant growth?

Many products do not include their ingredients because they don't exist to begin with, or the percentages of important nutrients are not guarenteed. This is a fact about "Superthrive" sold here, and well as many popular fertiliser and "hormone" products that are pure hype! Their ingredients can also vary extremely depending on where they are manufactured from one part of the country to another (availability), and even from country to country under the same brand name.

I would like to say that "university studies" here in the U.S. "prove" the benefit of using a particular product, when in fact they are paid not to use any other product in a scientific comparison. Control plants receive nothing at all - so any product providing some nutrients is better than nothing in a soilless potting medium. This is particularly true of specific fertilisers with "miraculous" abilities. Hint, hint.

Any "one size fits all" product for plants should have instant scrutany, as these companies make their profit for the scientific ignorance of the general public. My heart goes out to those just wanting to do the best thing for their plants.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2005 at 9:36PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

What John said echos my original thinking, but after looking around a bit, I found university studies indicating cytokinin applications did have an influence on inflorescence & fruit yield (fruit being seeds, nuts - the reproductive end parts of plants that reproduce in this manner). Now the question is: Just what is in the product Candle Tree inquired about & how can they label it 100% cytokinin. I would bet a tidy sum that it isn't 100% cytokinin. Products can be misleading. E.g. if the label says "active ingredient 100% cytokinin", it could have a minuscule amount of the growth regulator contained in the product.

I have done some experimenting with the "tonic" Superthrive that had some loose controls in place to help me judge the worth of this product. I may have posted the information here before; I know I've posted it on other forums. If any use it & are interested in my conclusions & how I arrived at them, I will post. I don't think it's too far off topic, but perhaps I'm mistaken?


    Bookmark   August 14, 2005 at 5:43PM
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john_z(Z 7b Ga.)

Al, the topic of plant hormones is quite complex, and to understand how they work one should be diligent in understanding botany, particularly plant biochemistry. But for the consumer, I think it is the responsibility of the company manufacturing the product to have research available and discussed in simple terms; research papers for peer review should also be available for those educated on the subject. After all, some people buy in huge quantities only to find everything in their greenhouse is now suffering, relying on beliefs rather than facts.

What is on the label is generally deceptive and labels are part of clever sales tactics. Information NOT included is part of their smoke and mirrors. But the "labeling" is all the other information that should be available about the product, which is true with at least pesticides in the U.S. by law. If this "labeling" is not available, be skeptical. You should not have to pay any bucks for a product to do your own experiements. (Can you imagine this with medications and the pharmaceutical industry? Why do it with plants?).

There are biochemical compounds that have cytokinin effects, such as Hypoxanthine, Adenine, Kinetin, Benzyladenice, Zeatin, Dipheylaurea, and N6-Isopentenyladenine(2iP). You are right - so what really is in the product that Candle Tree considered? Would supplements of IAA at specific times and in specific proportions be necessary to make it effective? And there are other considerations. That would be to complex for most non-professionals, but applications might be necessary.

As for Superthrive, two Ph.Ds I studied under both referred to it as "snake oil" coincidentally. One mentioned that independent lab analysis was done on the product at different times by different labs and the ingredients were not even consistent. Also mentioned was that iron and other micronutrients were sometimes added and sometimes not - depending on the batch. There were other problems with mixing ingredients together that would disintegrate each other's compounds on contact. I cannot say any of this is true or not true, since I didn't pursue the matter.

The problem with adding mineral nutrients is that any excess of one element will create deficiencies in others; they bind together into insoluble complexes that the roots cannot absorb. So if you fertilise, and this product says it is no substitute for fertilisers, you could create problems. If the pH of the soil or potting medium drops too low, foliage will show nasty toxicity symptoms.

As I said, I had no interest in this product at the time of these lectures to get the specifics on this research. But Superthrive does not seem to have any credibility in the scientific community from what I can find, only believers. But why should it? "Mystery potion", as I call it, does not list the ingredients that would bind the company to state inspection and product validation.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 7:57PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

As perceptive as you are, and though your post is addressed to me, I'm sure you already counted me as being among the skeptics, as indicated in my initial post. Subsequent to that post, I discovered that some studies indicated that cytokinin applications (university test plots) can indeed increase the florescence and yield of some plants. In fairness, I felt compelled to offer the information to the forum, but was careful to make sure it was apparent my skepticism outweighed any optimism about possible benefits, particularly because of doubt the product being discussed could deliver what it claims, so count me as being in agreement.

Change of subject: Because of regular participation on these forums, I get a fair volume of plant related questions appearing in my mailbox. One of the questions I see with some regularity is one inquiring about the effectiveness of Superthrive. As noted, I conducted some experiments (4) with some loose controls in place in an effort to satisfy my curiosity (OK, skepticism). After recording my results I wrote a short article which I titled "Superthrive or Superjive". It was interesting to note that in all 4 experiments, the product proved equally useless as a tonic for plants with established root systems, but showed favorable results in stimulating new root formation on groups of cuttings from 4 different plants (control groups used for comparison).

Please do not interpret this to be an endorsement of the product (Superthrive). I believe its promoter's profusity of claims are light years ahead of the product's ability to deliver on said claims, but it does have a spot on my shelf as a rooting aid in certain applications - mainly when repotting/root-pruning woody material.

Take care.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 9:16PM
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Candle_Tree(Kolkata, India)

Hi John & Al!

The discussion about effect on artificial hormone use on plants has been interesting and enlightening (to me). The bottle of Pure Cytokinine (that my mom bought) does not have any detailed declaration/information about its content.

I agree very strongly with John, when he says that it should be made mandatory (not only in USA but also elsewhere). If that's a regulation which can be followed by the pharma industry then why can't we demand it for our green friends? Moreover, the consumers have a right to know on what they are spending their money.

Well...I share my doubt with Al, most likely the product they are claiming to be Pure Cytokinine is in a diluted form. So, even if Cytokinine works (as it is claimed) in this case it didn't.

This is definitely OFF TOPIC, but I simply can't resist the temptation to share the good news with you folks! 189 countries in the world have finally agreed to discontinue the use of the pesticide Methyl Bromide. As you may already know that this chemical is harmful for the ozone layer. Recently in Montreal Convention it was decided that by January, 2006 the usage will be stopped permanently, though developed countries like USA, Canada, Italy, Spain, France, Britain, Poland, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, Israel, Australia and New Zealand will be allowed to use it till the end of 2006. A limit has however been set (14 thousand 700 tons) for their collective use. It's a small progress, but a progress nevertheless.

Candle Tree

    Bookmark   August 17, 2005 at 6:22AM
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john_z(Z 7b Ga.)

Candle Tree, I love good news, even if it is a small flame of enlightenment in the dark caverns of greed, ignorance, and false views. I'll check back with you in personal e-mail this weekend, my friend. Thank you for sharing that!

Al, your position as a product skeptic is well taken, and I see from your membership page that you are an avid plant lover like myself. (I'm delightfully obsessed, in fact). I will see if GW still has your thread available this weekend, but they don't keep them for long, unfortunately. I'd love to read it.

Decades ago I also loved experimenting, but had to really humble myself after labouring with textbooks like, "Plant Hormones and Plant Development", by William P. Jacobs back in the early 1990's. I quickly learned that I never did experiments quite correctly, despite my best efforts to account for every minute detail. I was also mislead by product labels, but those days are gone. Understated, there is no one cause (and certainly no one product) that will produce specific desired effects on plants. I trust you already know that! So that is also to say that a product may have validity, but the exclusion of basic information to make it work along with being ignorant about what cultural conditions a species' needs can make a product appear bogus.

One small example would be if the calcium level of a potting medium is inadequate, IAA would not be effective - but there are various other considerations. At the same time, an experiment plus the product could have considerable flaws, so I've learned to be careful about saying it absolutely one or the other. Nevertheless, I have reason to assert that commercial labels on horticultural products are quite deceptive, especially those presenting themselves as a panacea (Miracle-Gro, Ironite, etc.). Try their hype growin plants in an office cube, LOL.
Later came a textbook that I highly recommend to those botaically inclined, "Mineral Nutrition of Higher Plants", Second edition, by Horst Marschner - with 6th printing in 2003! (It is available on E-bay). This research is clearly not for those of shallow interest in the Plant Kingdom, as it describes the complexity of plant biochemistry, supplements of fertilisers, hormones, etc. in various environments. When i came across info that I simply didn't understand, it was an inspiration to use those keywords to do some research. Aah, so that's why when I did...

I have numerous plants in beautiful condition 25 years later deeply understanding cultural basics, not buying new products.

With respect, John.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2005 at 9:38PM
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