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Guidelines for micronutrient management

Course Title Principles and practices of Soil fertility and nutrient manegement Course No. AGRON- 502 Credit Hours 3(2+1)

Dr. S.N.Khajanji Professor Dept. of Agronomy College of Agriculture, Raipur.

Pravir kumar pandey M.Sc. (Ag) Previous Year Dept. of Agronomy College of Agriculture, Raipur.

It is known that at least 17 plant food elements are necessary for the growth of plants. These plant nutrients are called as essential elements. In the absence of any one of these essential elements a plant fails to complete its life cycle, the disorder caused can be corrected by the addition of that element. Out of 16 essential element 8nutrients viz. Iron, Manganese, Boron, Zinc, Cooper, Molybdenum Chlorine , and NI are used by field crops in very small quantities and hence called as micronutrients. These are also called as trace, minor or rare elements. Micro- nutrients are as essential to plant growth as the macronutrients. Table 1. Primary nutrients Nitrogen (N) Phosphorus (P) Potassium (K) Secondary nutrients Sulfur (S) Calciam(Ca) Magnesium (Mg) Micronutrients Manganese (Mn) Boron (B) Chlorine (Cl) Zinc (Zn) Copper (Cu) Molybdenum (Mo) Nickle (Ni)

Plants differ in their requirements for certain micronutrients. The following table shows the estimate of the relative response of selected crops to micronutrients. The ratings of low medium and high are used to indicate the relative degree of responsiveness Table 2. Crop Response to Micronutrients

Crop Alfalfa Wheat Rye Clover Corn Oats Sugar Beet

B High Low Low Med Med Low High

Cu Med High Low Med Low Med Low

Mn Low High Low Low Low High Low

Zn Med Low Med Med High Med Med

2.Important functions and deficiency symptoms

Iron is involved in the production of chlorophyll, and iron chlorosis is easily recognized on ironsensitive crops growing on calcareous soils. Iron also is a component of many enzymes associated with energy transfer, nitrogen reduction and fixation, and lignin formation. Iron is associated with sulfur in plants to form compounds that catalyze other reactions. Iron deficiencies are mainly manifested by yellow leaves due to low levels of chlorophyll. Leaf yellowing first appears on the younger upper leaves in interveinal tissues. Severe iron deficiencies cause leaves to turn completely yellow or almost white, and then brown as leaves die.

Iron deficiencies are found mainly on high pH soils, although some acid, sandy soils low in organic matter also may be iron-deficient. Cool, wet weather enhances iron deficiencies, especially on soils with marginal levels of available iron. Poorly aerated or compacted soils also reduce iron uptake by plants. Uptake of iron decreases with increased soil pH, and is adversely affected by high levels of available phosphorus, manganese and zinc in soils.

Functions Helps in chlorophyll formation, absorption of other nutrients. Essential for the synthesis of proteins contained in the chloroplasts. Deficiency - Causes chlorosis between the veins of leaves, the veins remaining green.

Manganese is necessary in photosynthesis, nitrogen metabolism and to form other compounds required for plant metabolism. Interveinal chlorosis is a characteristic manganese-deficiency symptom. In very severe manganese cases, brown necrotic spots appear on leaves, resulting in premature leaf drop. Delayed maturity is another deficiency symptom in some species. White/gray spots on leaves of some cereal crops is a sign of manganese deficienc.

Manganese deficiencies mainly occur on organic soils, high-pH soils, sandy soils low in organic matter, and on over-limed soils. Soil manganese may be less available in dry, well-aerated soils, but can become more available under wet soil conditions when manganese is reduced to the plant-available form. Conversely, manganese toxicity can result in some acidic, high-manganese soils. Uptake of manganese decreases with increased soil pH and is adversely affected by high levels of available iron in soils.

Functions- Acts as catalyst in oxidation and reduction reactions within the plant tissues. Helps in chlorophyll formation, supports movement of iron in the plant, counteracting the bad effect of poor aeration. Deficiency- Leads to chlorosis in the inter veinal tissue of net veined leaves and parallel vein leaves. In cereals it produce grey streak, white streak dry spot and lip spot, marash spot, streak disease and pahala blight in sugarcane, yellow diseases in spinach and beans.

A primary function of boron is related to cell wall formation, so boron-deficient plants may be stunted. Sugar transport in plants, flower retention and pollen formation and germination also are affected by boron. Seed and grain production are reduced with low boron supply. Borondeficiency symptoms first appear at the growing points. This results in a stunted appearance (rosetting), barren ears due to poor pollination, hollow stems and fruit (hollow heart) and brittle, discolored leaves and loss of fruiting bodies. Boron deficiencies are found mainly in acid, sandy soils in regions of high rainfall, and those with low soil organic matter. Borate ions are mobile in soil and can be leached from the root zone. Boron deficiencies are more pronounced during drought periods when root activity is restricted. Functions- It is a constituent of cell membrane and essential for cell division. Acts as a regulated of potassium/calcium ratio in the plant, helps in nitrogen absorption and translocation of sugars in plant. Deficiency- In lucerne yellows and rosetting, snakehead in walnuts, die back and corking in fruits, corking and pitting in tomatoes, hollow stem and bronzing of curd Cauliflower, brown heart disease in table beets, turnips etc.

Zinc is an essential component of various enzyme systems for energy production, protein synthesis, and growth regulation. Zinc deficient plants also exhibit delayed maturity. Zinc is not mobile in plants so zinc-deficiency symptoms occur mainly in new growth. Poor mobility in plants suggests the need for a constant supply of available zinc for optimum growth. The most visible zinc deficiency symptoms are short internodes and a decrease in leaf size. Delayed maturity also is a symptom of zinc-deficient plants.

Zinc deficiencies are mainly found on sandy soils low in organic matter and on organic soils. Zinc deficiencies occur more often during cold, wet spring weather and are related to reduced root growth and activity as well as lower microbial activity decreases zinc release from soil organic matter. Zinc uptake by plants decreases with increased soil pH. Uptake of zinc also is adversely affected by high levels of available phosphorus and iron in soils.

Functions- Constitute of several enzyme system which regulate various metabolic reaction in the plant. Associated with water uptake and water relation in the plant.

Deficiency- Deficiency symptoms appear in younger leaves starting with interveinal chlorosis leading to a reduction in shoot growth and the shorting of internodes. Mottle leaf, little leaf etc.in the case of trees, the buds of severely deficient maize plants become white, interveinal chlorosis and mottled leaf occur in citrus.

Copper is necessary for carbohydrate and nitrogen metabolism and, inadequate copper results in stunting of plants. Copper also is required for lignin synthesis which is needed for cell wall strength and prevention of wilting. Deficiency symptoms of copper are dieback of stems and twigs, yellowing of leaves, stunted growth and pale green leaves that wither easily.

Copper deficiencies are mainly reported on sandy soils which are low in organic matter. Copper uptake decreases as soil pH increases. Increased phosphorus and iron availability in soils decreases copper uptake by plants.

Functions- Act as "electron carrier" in enzymes, helps in utilization of iron in chlorophyll synthesis. It neutralizes the harmful conditions in certain peat soils when applied in large quantity. Deficiency-Variation in deficiency symptoms occurs in case of copper e.g. multiple bud formation, staining and splitting of fruits, dieback of shoots, the marginal or spotted necrosis and cholorsis of leaves.

Molybdenum is involved in enzyme systems relating to nitrogen fixation by bacteria growing symbiotically with legumes. Nitrogen metabolism, protein synthesis and sulfur metabolism are also affected by molybdenum. Molybdenum has a significant effect on pollen formation, so fruit and grain formation are affected in molybdenum-deficient plants. Because molybdenum

requirements are so low, most plant species do not exhibit molybdenum-deficiency symptoms. These deficiency symptoms in legumes are mainly exhibited as nitrogen-deficiency symptoms because of the primary role of molybdenum in nitrogen fixation. Unlike the other micronutrients, molybdenum-deficiency symptoms are not confined mainly to the youngest leaves because molybdenum is mobile in plants. The characteristic molybdenum deficiency symptom in some vegetable crops is irregular leaf blade formation known as whiptail, but interveinal mottling and marginal chlorosis of older leaves also have been observed.

Molybdenum deficiencies are found mainly on acid, sandy soils in humid regions. Molybdenum uptake by plants increases with increased soil pH, which is opposite that of the other micronutrients. Molybdenum deficiencies in legumes may be corrected by liming acid soils rather than by molybdenum applications. However, seed treatment with molybdenum sources may be more economical than liming in some areas.

Functions- Acts in enzyme systems which bring about oxidation reduction reactions. Essential for the process of atmospheric nitrogen fixation. Deficiency Reduces the activity of the symbiotic and non-symbiotic nitrogen fixing microorganisms. Produces whiptail in cauliflower, broccoli and other Brassica crops.

Because chloride is a mobile anion in plants, most of its functions relate to salt effects (stomatal opening) and electrical charge balance in physiological functions in plants. Chloride also indirectly affects plant growth by stomatal regulation of water loss. Wilting and restricted, highly branched root systems are the main chloride-deficiency symptoms, which are found mainly in cereal crops.

Most soils contain sufficient levels of chloride for adequate plant nutrition. However, reported chloride deficiencies have been reported on sandy soils in high rainfall areas or those derived from low-chloride parent materials. There are few areas of chloride-deficient so this micronutrient generally is not considered in fertilizer programs. In addition, chloride is applied to soils with KCl, the dominant potassium fertilizer. The role of chloride in decreasing the incidence of various diseases in small grains is perhaps more important than its nutritional role from a practical viewpoint.

Functions- The exact role which, chlorine plays in plant nutrition has not yet been clearly defined. It requires for proper plant development e.g. sugarbeets, carrots, lettuce, barley, wheat, cotton and clovers. From the point of view of soil fertility, plants requires one kg of chlorine for each four thousand kg of dry matter which they produce. Deficiency- Plants display symptoms of wilt, chlorsis, necrosis, and an unusual bronze discoloration on tomatoes.

3.Soil condition causes to micronutrient deficiency *highly leached acidic sandy soils; *soils with a high-water table; *soils with a very high content of organic matter e.g. peat and muck soils of Kerala; *calcareous and saline-alkaline soils very high in pH e.g. UP, Punjab and Bihar; *intensively cropped soil with high doses of commercial fertilizers; *application of high doses of lime at one time. Range of micronutrient concentrations required for normal plant growth
Trace eliment Fe (Iron) Mn (Manganese) B (Boron) Z (Zinc) Cu (Copper) Concentration in ppm 0.5 to 5.0 0.1 to 0.5 0.1 to 1.0 0.02 to 0.2 0.1to 0.05

Mo (Molybdenum)

0.01 to 0.05


Fertilizer contents

Application kg/ha Soil Spray 16.8-56.0 5.6-7.8


Ferrous sulphate- 19% Fe

Mn Boron

Manganese sulphate30.5% Borax-10.50% B

16.8-33.6 5.5-56.0

4.5-9.0 2.3-22.4

Zinc Copper Molybdenum

Zinc sulphate- 21% Zn Copper sulphate 24% Cu Ammonium molybdate- 52% Mo

2.3-56.0 5.6-33.6 0.07-2.3

0.56 0.028-0.035

Source: Chemical fertilizers and range of application

4.Chelating compounds To increase the availability of micronutrients and make them slowly available over a longer period, chelated compounds are formed. For this Chelating agent e.g. EDTA is commonly used. This agent combines with iron, copper, calcium or magnesium to form chelated compounds that supply secondary nutrients of micronutrients. The use of also some synthetic Chelating agents are also used e.g. HEDTA, DTPA, EDDHA, NTA. The use of chelated compounds of micronutrients has become very important for correcting micronutrient deficiencies particularly in horticultural crops.

5.Methods of application The common methods of micronutrient application are given below: Soils Application: - The require quantities of materials are broadcast or placed by adding dry soil or fine sand before planting the crop e.g. B,Cu,Zn. Foliar Application: - Low doses of micronutrients are applied through sprays on plant foliage. Crops in younger stages require less solution, while crops more foliage or fruit trees like oranges, require more solution for spraying e.g. Fe,Mn,B. Addition through mixed fertilizers: - Uniform of spreading of the micronutrients essential for different regions are added to the spread fertilizer or to fertilizer mixture used e.g. phosphates mixed with boron, molybdenum or zinc. Seed soaking: - Low concentration of micronutrient solution is used to soak the seed for about 12 hours before planting e.g. Mo. Seed coating:- Micronutrient mixed with a small amount of soil made into a pest is coated around the seeds, dried and then used for sowing e.g. Mo.

6.Plant Analysis to Detect Micronutrient Deficiencies

Plant tissue analysis is more reliable than soil testing for identifying many micronutrient problems, and can also supplement soil test information. Tissue testing is especially valuable in cases where reliable soil tests are unavailable. However, molybdenum and chlorine levels cannot be determined by this method.

Plant analysis can be used in two ways; one is to monitor the crop's micronutrient status, and the other is to diagnose a problem situation. By quantifying the nutrient content of tissues, plant analysis can point out an existing or potential problem before visual symptoms develop.

If in-season micronutrient deficiencies are suspected, plant samples should be taken as early as practical; treatments, when needed, should be made in a timely manner. Research has shown that once a micronutrient deficiency is detected, the plant has already suffered irreversible yield loss.

Because plant nutrient composition varies with the crop, age of the plant, part of the plant sampled and other factors, it is important to follow the standard sampling procedures provided by your plant diagnostic laboratory. In order to obtain a representative sample, take multiple plants from areas randomly distributed throughout the affected field area. Avoid border plants and those contaminated with dust, soil or foliar sprays. Taking samples of non-symptomatic plants to compare with apparent nutrient-deficient plants can increase the usefulness of plant analysis. Be aware that interpreting results is complex and may require expert advice.

1. Introduction 1. 2.


2 Important functions and deficiency symptoms 3.Soil condition causes to micronutrient deficiency
4. Chelating compounds .


5. Methods of application 6.Plant Analysis to Detect Micronutrient Deficiencies 7. Conclusion


8 9. 10. .