Influence of chelating ligands on bioavailability and mobility of iron in plant growth media and their effect on radish growth

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Journal Article
Environmental and Experimental Botany, 2011, 71 (3), pp. 345 - 351
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In this study, the effects of chelating ligands on iron movement in growth medium, iron bioavailability, and growth of radish sprouts (Raphanus sativus) were investigated. Iron is an important nutrient for plant growth, yet the insoluble state of iron hydroxides in alkaline conditions decreases its bioavailability. Iron chelates increase iron uptake and have been used in agriculture to correct iron chlorosis. While previous studies have reported the effects of chelating ligands on iron solubility and bioavailability, the present study elucidates the pattern of iron movement by chelating ligands in plant growth medium. The apparent mobility of iron in growth medium was calculated using a `4-box model. Ethylenediaminedisuccinic acid (EDDS) and hydroxy-iminodisuccinic acid (HIDS) produced the highest apparent mobility of iron from the bottom layer of the medium (initially 10-4 M Fe(III)) to the upper layer (no iron), followed by glutamatediacetic acid (GLDA), ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), methylglycinediacetic acid (MGDA), and iminodisuccinic acid (IDS). Iron movement in the growth medium was influenced by the chelating ligand species, pH, and ligand exposure time. The iron uptake and growth of radish sprouts were related to the iron mobility produced by the chelating ligands. These results suggest that, in alkaline media, chelating ligands dissolve the hardly soluble iron hydroxide species, thus increasing iron mobility, iron uptake, and plant growth. HIDS, which is biodegradable, was one of the most effective ligands studied; therefore, this compound would be a good alternative to other environmentally persistent chelating ligands
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