BACKGROUND: Iron (Fe) chlorosis is a serious problem affecting the yield and quality of numerous crops and fruit trees cultivated in alkaline/calcareous soils. This paper describes the efficiency of a new class of natural hetero-ligand Fe(III) chelates (Fe-NHL) to provide available Fe for chlorotic lemon trees grown in alkaline/calcareous soils. These chelates involve the participation in the reaction system of a partially humified lignin-based natural polymer and citric acid.
RESULTS: First results showed that Fe-NHL was adsorbed on the soil matrix while maintaining available Fe for plants in alkaline/calcareous solution. The effects of using three different sources as Fe fertilisers were also compared: two Fe-NHL formulations (NHL1, containing 100% of Fe as Fe-NHL, and NHL2, containing 80% of Fe as Fe-NHL and 20% of Fe as Fe-ethylenediamine-N,N′-bis-(o-hydroxyphenylacetic) acid (Fe-EDDHA)) and Fe-EDDHA. Both Fe-NHL formulations increased fruit yield without negative effects on fruit quality in comparison with Fe-EDDHA. In the absence of the Fe-starter fraction (NHL1), trees seemed to optimise Fe assimilation and translocation from Fe-NHL, directing it to those parts of the plant more involved in development.
CONCLUSION: The field assays confirmed that Fe-NHL-based fertilisers are able to provide Fe to chlorotic trees, with results comparable to Fe-EDDHA. Besides, this would imply a more sustainable and less expensive remediation than synthetic chelates. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry