Special Issue "Mineral Nutrition and Plant Responses to Environmental Changes"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Nutrition".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 October 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Hazem M. Kalaji
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Guest Editor
Department of Plant Physiology, Faculty of Agriculture and Biology, Warsaw University of Life Sciences SGGW, Warsaw, Poland
Interests: fluorescence sensors; chlorophyll fluorescence analysis; photochemistry of photosynthesis; plant stress; physiology of plants and algae; plant talk and machine learning
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Manzer Hussain Siddiqui
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Botany and Microbiology, College of Science, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Interests: environmental stress; crop physiology and biochemistry; plant growth regulation; plant nutrition; crop production
Dr. M. Nasir Khan
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, College of Haql, University of Tabuk, Tabuk 71491,Saudi Arabia
Interests: mineral nutrition of crop plants; stress physiology; mechanism of abiotic stress tolerance; hydrogen sulfide and nitric oxide signaling, and phytohormones

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Environmental stresses that undermine the manageability of agriculture are apparently heightening. In the last couple of decades, abiotic stresses have become a significant subject of worry for plant biologists. To adapt all of these environmental stresses, plants have evolved sophisticated signaling and protective mechanisms to escape and tolerate at morphological, physiological, biochemical, molecular, and anatomical levels. Their proper plant functioning, adaptation, and tolerance against different environmental stresses depend on the adequate supply of macro‐ and micronutrients, nutrient use efficiency, and nutrient homeostasis. In addition, signaling of gasotransmitters such as nitric oxide (NO), carbon monoxide (CO), and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and reactive oxygen species (ROS), accumulation of plant growth regulators and regulation of gene expression are also well associated with the tolerance of plants to abiotic stress.

Usually, nutrient imbalances affect signaling by modifying the synthesis or degradation of these signaling molecules that further accelerate the intensity of abiotic stresses. Mineral nutrients not only provide nourishment to the plants but also play crucial roles in the regulation of gene expression, enzyme activity, and biosynthesis of plant hormones and macromolecules under normal and abiotic stress conditions. However, nutrient deficiency alters physiological, biochemical, and molecular functions and makes plants more vulnerable and weaker to fight against abiotic stresses. Therefore, we can consider several roles of mineral nutrients in various aspects of plant science.

However, vague information is available on the mechanism(s) by which nutrients provide protection to plants against adverse environmental conditions. In view of this, it is critical to understand the role of essential and beneficial nutrients in minimizing the harmful effects of abiotic stresses and their mode of action in physiological and molecular processes by which these nutrients affect tolerance of plants against different environmental stresses.

This Special Issue invites plant biologists working in the field of plant physiology, molecular biology, agronomy, and genetic engineering to contribute their novel research findings in the form of full-length research articles, short communications, reviews, mini-reviews, and opinion articles.

Prof. Dr. Hazem M. Kalaji
Prof. Dr. Francisco J. Corpas
Dr. Manzer Hussain Siddiqui
Dr. M. Nasir Khan
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Plants is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • modern methods based on fast and noninvasive techniques for early detection of nutrient deficiency
  • plant nutrition
  • essential and beneficial nutrients
  • nutrient deficiency
  • nutrient use efficiency
  • abiotic stress
  • nanofertilizers
  • nutrient uptake
  • transport and assimilation
  • nutritional value of crops
  • crop productivity
  • cellular oxidative damage
  • nutrient sensing and signaling
  • plant hormone and nutrient signaling
  • molecular approach to plant nutrition

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Article
Biogeochemistry of Dominant Plants and Soils in Shewushan Gold Lateritic Deposit, China
Plants 2022, 11(1), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11010038 - 23 Dec 2021
Viewed by 278
Abstract
This paper describes the effect of mineral elements on dominant plants in the Shewushan lateritic gold deposit, China. For this purpose, 30 soil profile samples at different depths and 3 kinds of dominant plants including Populus canadensis (Populus X canadensis Moench), [...] Read more.
This paper describes the effect of mineral elements on dominant plants in the Shewushan lateritic gold deposit, China. For this purpose, 30 soil profile samples at different depths and 3 kinds of dominant plants including Populus canadensis (Populus X canadensis Moench), Cinnamomun camphora (Cinnamomum camphora (L.) Presl.) and Rhus chinensis (Rhus chinensis Mill.) were collected. The concentration of ore-forming elements including Au, Ag, Pb, Zn, Cu, As, Fe, and S were analyzed. Based on the investigation of two mine profiles, it can be found that Au, Pb, As, and Fe were mainly enriched in laterite layer and the brown clay layer at a depth of 5–11 m. Moreover, the biological accumulate coefficient (BAC) and the contrast coefficient (CM) were calculated to assess the sensitivity and concentrating ability of Populus canadensis and Cinnamomun camphora. To investigate the response of the two species to metal stress, the contents of chlorophyll, malondialdehyde (MDA), and activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase (POD) were determined. The result showed that Populus canadensis and Cinnamomun camphora have a high tolerance to metal stress and that both of the two species can indicate the content of Au, As, Pb, and Co in topsoil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Nutrition and Plant Responses to Environmental Changes)
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Article
Improvement of Growth, Yield, Seed Production and Phytochemical Properties of Satureja khuzistanica Jamzad by Foliar Application of Boron and Zinc
Plants 2021, 10(11), 2469; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10112469 - 16 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 435
Abstract
Satureja khuzistanica Jamzad is a valuable and endemic medicinal plant. Boron and zinc are essential elements for the vegetative and reproductive growth of plants and have significant effects on yield, essential oil composition and the seed production of plants. To investigate the effects [...] Read more.
Satureja khuzistanica Jamzad is a valuable and endemic medicinal plant. Boron and zinc are essential elements for the vegetative and reproductive growth of plants and have significant effects on yield, essential oil composition and the seed production of plants. To investigate the effects of the foliar application of zinc and boron on the growth, yield, seed production and phytochemical properties of S. khuzistanica, a study was conducted in a factorial experiment with three replicates in two consecutive years based on a randomized complete block design. The foliar application of boron (B) at three concentrations (control or distilled water, 0.4% and 0.8% as H3BO3) and zinc (Zn) at three concentrations (control or distilled water, 0.3% and 0.6% as ZnSO4) was carried out. Our results showed that the foliar application of B resulted in a significant increase in the fresh and dry weights of plants, the dry weight of stems, drug yield, seed yield, seed germination and 1000-seed weight. At the same time, the application of B resulted in a significant decrease in seed emptiness. The fresh and dry weights of plants, drug yield, seed yield, 1000-seed weight and seed germination were also significantly improved by Zn foliar spraying compared to the control. Application of 0.8% B resulted in a significant decrease in seed emptiness by 14.16% and 22.37%, as compared to the control. The foliar spraying of B and Zn improved the total phenolic content, the essential oil content and the yield and antioxidant activity of S. khuzistanica. Moreover, B application generally concentrated more carvacrol in the essential oil (in the first experimental year). In contrast, no significant differences were observed between Zn treatments in carvacrol content and total flavonoids. The use of several microelements, such as B and Zn, could improve both the quantity and quality of S. khuzistanica. Additionally, improvement of seed set and seed quality by the foliar spraying of Zn and B may be useful for growing plants in arid and semi-arid areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Nutrition and Plant Responses to Environmental Changes)
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Article
Comparative Effect of Inoculation of Phosphorus-Solubilizing Bacteria and Phosphorus as Sustainable Fertilizer on Yield and Quality of Mung Bean (Vigna radiata L.)
Plants 2021, 10(10), 2079; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10102079 - 30 Sep 2021
Viewed by 816
Abstract
Globally, the availability of phosphorus (P) to crops remains limited in two-thirds of the soils, which makes it less accessible to plants and ultimately associated with low crop yields. The present study investigated the effect of phosphorus-solubilizing bacteria (PSB; Pseudomonas spp.) for the [...] Read more.
Globally, the availability of phosphorus (P) to crops remains limited in two-thirds of the soils, which makes it less accessible to plants and ultimately associated with low crop yields. The present study investigated the effect of phosphorus-solubilizing bacteria (PSB; Pseudomonas spp.) for the improvement of phosphorus in mung bean (Vigna radiata) varieties and growth of net grain and biological yields. Results showed that inoculation of mung bean varieties with PSB at the rate of 100 g/kg seed significantly improved the root and shoot dry weight of about 1.13 and 12.66 g, root and shoot length of 14.49 and 50.63 cm, root and shoot phosphorus content of 2629.39 and 4138.91 mg/kg, a biological yield of 9844.41 kg/ha, number of pods of 17 per plant, number of grains of 9 per pod, grain yield of 882.23 kg/ha, and 1000-grain weight of 46.18 g after 60 days of observation. It was also observed that PSB-treated varieties of mung bean showed the maximum photosynthetic yield, photosynthetic active radiation, electron transport rate, and momentary fluorescent rate of 0.75, 364.32, 96.12, and 365.33 μmol/m2 s, respectively. The highest harvest index of 13.28% was recorded by P-treated mung beans. Results disclosed that inoculation of seeds of mung bean with PSB exhibited different effects in measured parameters. It is concluded that PSB possessed remarkable results in measured parameters compared to the control and highlighted that PSB could be an effective natural sustainable fertilizer for mung bean cultivation in sandy soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Nutrition and Plant Responses to Environmental Changes)
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Article
Characterizing Biomass Yield and Nutritional Value of Selected Indigenous Range Species from Arid Tunisia
Plants 2021, 10(10), 2031; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10102031 - 27 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 671
Abstract
Rangelands of Tunisia show a great indigenous species diversity with considerable potential as forage for livestock. However, information on their fodder yield and quality is scanty and restricted to few species. The objective of the study was to evaluate the nutritive values of [...] Read more.
Rangelands of Tunisia show a great indigenous species diversity with considerable potential as forage for livestock. However, information on their fodder yield and quality is scanty and restricted to few species. The objective of the study was to evaluate the nutritive values of selected key perennial species based on their biomass yield, chemical composition, in vitro organic matter digestibility (IVOMD), and mineral composition. The species evaluated included four grass species (Stipa lagascae Roem. and Schult., Stipa tenacissima L., Stipagrostis plumosa (L.) Munro ex T. Anderson, and Stipagrostis pungens (Desf.) de Winter.) and eight shrub species (Anthyllis henoniana Coss. ex Batt., Argyrolobium uniflorum (Deene.) Jaub. and Spach., Echiochilon fruticosum Desf., Gymnocarpos decander Forssk., Helianthemum kahiricum Delile., Helianthemum lippii (L.) Dum. Cours., Plantago albicans L. and Rhanterium suaveolens Desf.). Results showed that shrub species contained higher concentrations of the crude protein (CP), acid detergent lignin (ADL), but lower neutral detergent fiber (aNDFom) and acid detergent fiber (ADFom) concentrations than grasses. The greatest concentration of CP was 135 g/kg DM for R. suaveolens. The greatest aNDFom concentration was found within the grasses with maximum of 744.5 g/kg DM in S. plumosa. The shrub species E. fruticosum, A. uniflorum, P. albicans, G. decander, R. suaveolens, and A. henoniana had the highest IVOMD with over 500 g/kg DM and have the potential to supply energy to livestock. Overall, the moderate to high protein, low fiber, and high in vitro digestibility measured for shrubs, suggest they have high nutritional values and can be used to enhance local livestock production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Nutrition and Plant Responses to Environmental Changes)
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Article
Source–Sink Manipulation Affects Accumulation of Zinc and Other Nutrient Elements in Wheat Grains
Plants 2021, 10(5), 1032; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10051032 - 20 May 2021
Viewed by 1122
Abstract
To better understand the source–sink flow and its relationships with zinc (Zn) and other nutrients in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) plants for biofortification and improving grain nutritional quality, the effects of reducing the photoassimilate source (through the flag leaf removal and spike [...] Read more.
To better understand the source–sink flow and its relationships with zinc (Zn) and other nutrients in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) plants for biofortification and improving grain nutritional quality, the effects of reducing the photoassimilate source (through the flag leaf removal and spike shading) or sink (through the removal of all spikelets from one side of the spike, i.e., 50% spikelets removal) in the field of the accumulation of Zn and other nutrients in grains of two wheat cultivars (Jimai 22 and Jimai 44) were investigated at two soil Zn application levels. The kernel number per spike (KNPS), single panicle weight (SPW), thousand kernel weight (TKW), total grain weight (TGW) sampled, concentrations and yields of various nutrient elements including Zn, iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg), phytate phosphorus (phytate-P), phytic acid (PA) and phytohormones (ABA: abscisic acid, and the ethylene precursor ACC: 1-aminocylopropane-1-carboxylic acid), and carbon/N ratios were determined. Soil Zn application significantly increased the concentrations of grain Zn, N and K. Cultivars showing higher grain yields had lower grain protein and micronutrient nutritional quality. SPW, KNPS, TKW (with the exception of TKW in the removal of half of the spikelets), TGW, and nutrient yields in wheat grains were most severely reduced by half spikelet removal, secondly by spike shading, and slightly by flag leaf removal. Grain concentrations of Zn, N and Mg consistently showed negative correlations with SPW, KNPS and TGW, but positive correlations with TKW. There were general positive correlations among grain concentrations of Zn, Fe, Mn, Cu, N and Mg, and the bioavailability of Zn and Fe (estimated by molar ratios of PA/Zn, PA/Fe, PA × Ca/Zn, or PA × Ca/Fe). Although Zn and Fe concentrations were increased and Ca was decreased in treatments of half spikelet removal and spike shading, the treatments simultaneously increased PA and limited the increase in bioavailability of Zn and Fe. In general, different nutrient elements interact with each other and are affected to different degrees by source–sink manipulation. Elevated endogenous ABA levels and ABA/ACC ratios were associated with increased TKW and grain-filling of Zn, Mn, Ca and Mg, and inhibited K in wheat grains. However, the effects of ACC were diametrically opposite. These results provide a basis for wheat grain biofortification to alleviate human malnutrition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Nutrition and Plant Responses to Environmental Changes)
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Article
Exogenous Application of Zinc to Mitigate the Salt Stress in Vigna radiata (L.) Wilczek—Evaluation of Physiological and Biochemical Processes
Plants 2021, 10(5), 1005; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10051005 - 18 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1129
Abstract
Salt stress adversely affects the growth and productivity of crops. However, reports suggest that the application of various micronutrients could help the plant to cope with this stress. Hence, the objective of the study was to examine the effect of exogenous application of [...] Read more.
Salt stress adversely affects the growth and productivity of crops. However, reports suggest that the application of various micronutrients could help the plant to cope with this stress. Hence, the objective of the study was to examine the effect of exogenous application of Zinc (Zn) on salt tolerance in Vigna radiata (L.) Wilczek (mungbean). Mungbean is considered to be an economically important crop and possess a strategic position in Southeast Asian countries for sustainable crop production. It is rich in quality proteins, minerals and vitamins. Three weeks old grown seedlings were subjected to NaCl (150 mM and 200 mM) alone or with Zn (250 µM). After 21 days of treatment, plants were harvested for investigating morphological, physiological and biochemical changes. We found that the Zn application mitigates the negative effect upon plant growth to a variable extent. This may be attributed to the increased shoot and root length, improved chlorophyll and carotenoid contents, enhanced total soluble sugar (TSS), total soluble protein (TSP) and proline accumulation, decreased H2O2 content and increased enzymatic antioxidant activities. Zn’s application improved the performance of the enzymes such as phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) and tyrosine ammonia-lyase (TAL) of the secondary metabolism, which resulted in the improvement of total phenol and flavonoids. The antioxidant activities such as 1,1diphenyl 2-picryl hydrazine (DPPH) and ferrous reducing antioxidant power assay (FRAP) of the plants also showed improved results in their salt only treatments. Furthermore, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and superoxide radical (SOD) scavenging activity were also improved upon the application of 250 µM zinc. Thus, Zn application in low doses offers promising potential for recovering plants suffering from salinity stress. In conclusion, we assume that zinc application improved salt tolerance in mungbean through the improvement of various physiological and photochemical processes which could prove to be useful in nutrient mediated management for crop improvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Nutrition and Plant Responses to Environmental Changes)
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Article
Exogenous Potassium (K+) Positively Regulates Na+/H+ Antiport System, Carbohydrate Metabolism, and Ascorbate–Glutathione Cycle in H2S-Dependent Manner in NaCl-Stressed Tomato Seedling Roots
Plants 2021, 10(5), 948; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10050948 - 10 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 922
Abstract
Potassium (K+) is one of the vital macronutrients required by plants for proper growth and blossoming harvest. In addition, K+ also plays a decisive role in promoting tolerance to various stresses. Under stressful conditions, plants deploy their defense system through [...] Read more.
Potassium (K+) is one of the vital macronutrients required by plants for proper growth and blossoming harvest. In addition, K+ also plays a decisive role in promoting tolerance to various stresses. Under stressful conditions, plants deploy their defense system through various signaling molecules, including hydrogen sulfide (H2S). The present investigation was carried out to unravel the role of K+ and H2S in plants under NaCl stress. The results of the study show that NaCl stress caused a reduction in K+ and an increase in Na+ content in the tomato seedling roots which coincided with a lower H+-ATPase activity and K+/Na+ ratio. However, application of 5 mM K+, in association with endogenous H2S, positively regulated the Na+/H+ antiport system that accelerated K+ influx and Na+ efflux, resulting in the maintenance of a higher K+/Na+ ratio. The role of K+ and H2S in the regulation of the Na+/H+ antiport system was validated by applying sodium orthovanadate (plasma membrane H+-ATPase inhibitor), tetraethylammonium chloride (K+ channel blocker), amiloride (Na+/H+ antiporter inhibitor), and hypotaurine (HT, H2S scavenger). Application of 5 mM K+ positively regulated the ascorbate–glutathione cycle and activity of antioxidant enzymes that resulted in a reduction in reactive oxygen species generation and associated damage. Under NaCl stress, K+ also activated carbohydrate metabolism and proline accumulation that caused improvement in osmotic tolerance and enhanced the hydration level of the stressed seedlings. However, inclusion of the H2S scavenger HT reversed the effect of K+, suggesting H2S-dependent functioning of K+ under NaCl stress. Therefore, the present findings report that K+, in association with H2S, alleviates NaCl-induced impairments by regulating the Na+/H+ antiport system, carbohydrate metabolism, and antioxidative defense system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Nutrition and Plant Responses to Environmental Changes)
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Article
Native Amazonian Canga Grasses Show Distinct Nitrogen Growth Responses in Iron Mining Substrates
Plants 2021, 10(5), 849; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10050849 - 22 Apr 2021
Viewed by 811
Abstract
Native species may have adaptive traits that are advantageous for overcoming the adverse environmental conditions faced during the early stages of mine land rehabilitation. Here, we examined the nitrogen (N) growth responses of two native perennial grasses (Axonopus longispicus and Paspalum cinerascens [...] Read more.
Native species may have adaptive traits that are advantageous for overcoming the adverse environmental conditions faced during the early stages of mine land rehabilitation. Here, we examined the nitrogen (N) growth responses of two native perennial grasses (Axonopus longispicus and Paspalum cinerascens) from canga in nutrient-poor iron mining substrates. We carried out vegetative propagation and recovered substantial healthy tillers from field-collected tussocks of both species. These tillers were cultivated in mining substrates at increasing N levels. The tillering rates of both species increased with the N application. Nonetheless, only in P. cinerascens did the N application result in significant biomass increase. Such growth gain was a result of changes in leaf pigment, stomatal morphology, gas exchanges, and nutrients absorption that occurred mainly under the low N additions. Reaching optimum growth at 80 mg N dm−3, these plants showed no differences from those in the field. Our study demonstrates that an input of N as fertilizer can differentially improve the growth of native grasses and that P. cinerascens plants are able to deposit high quantities of carbon and protect soil over the seasons, thus, making them promising candidates for restoring nutrient cycling, accelerating the return of other species and ecosystem services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Nutrition and Plant Responses to Environmental Changes)
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Article
Phosphorus Nutrient Management through Synchronization of Application Methods and Rates in Wheat and Maize Crops
Plants 2020, 9(10), 1389; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9101389 - 19 Oct 2020
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 1584
Abstract
Management of inorganic fertilizer is very important to obtain maximum crop yield and improved nutrient use efficiency in cereal crops. Fixation of phosphatic fertilizers in alkaline soils due to calcareousness is one of the major hurdles. It induces phosphorus nutritional stress that can [...] Read more.
Management of inorganic fertilizer is very important to obtain maximum crop yield and improved nutrient use efficiency in cereal crops. Fixation of phosphatic fertilizers in alkaline soils due to calcareousness is one of the major hurdles. It induces phosphorus nutritional stress that can decrease the yield of maize and wheat. Selection of a suitable application method and proper stage of crop for phosphorus (P) fertilizer has prime importance in better uptake of P and crop production. Among different application methods, soil and foliar application are widely adopted. In wheat and maize, knee height + tasseling and stem elongation + booting are critical stages towards P deficiency. That is why field trials were conducted to evaluate the supplemental effect of foliar P on maize and wheat yields. For that, 144 mM KH2PO4 was applied as foliar at knee height + tasseling and stem elongation + boot stages in maize and wheat, respectively. Soil application of 0, 20, 40 and 60 kg P ha−1 was done through broadcast and band methods. Results showed that foliar spray of 144 mM KH2PO4 at knee height + tasseling and stem elongation + boot stages in wheat and maize significantly enhanced grains yield and phosphorus use efficiency (PUE) where P was applied as banding or broadcast at the time of sowing. A significant decreasing trend in response to increasing soil P levels validated the efficacious role and suitability of foliar P. In conclusion, the use of P as foliar at knee height + tasseling and stem elongation + boot stages is an efficacious way to manage P fertilizer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Nutrition and Plant Responses to Environmental Changes)
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Article
Impact of Coating of Urea with Bacillus-Augmented Zinc Oxide on Wheat Grown under Salinity Stress
Plants 2020, 9(10), 1375; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9101375 - 15 Oct 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1179
Abstract
Zinc (Zn) availability is limited in salt-affected soils due to high soil pH and calcium concentrations causing Zn fixation. The application of synthetic Zn fertilizer is usually discouraged due to the high cost and low Zn use efficiency. However, salt-tolerant Zn-solubilizing bacteria (ZSB) [...] Read more.
Zinc (Zn) availability is limited in salt-affected soils due to high soil pH and calcium concentrations causing Zn fixation. The application of synthetic Zn fertilizer is usually discouraged due to the high cost and low Zn use efficiency. However, salt-tolerant Zn-solubilizing bacteria (ZSB) are capable of solubilizing fixed fractions of Zn and improving fertilizer use efficiency. In the current study, a product was formulated by coating urea with bioaugmented zinc oxide (ZnO) to improve wheat productivity under a saline environment. The promising ZSB strain Bacillus sp. AZ6 was used for bioaugmentation on ZnO powder and termed as Bacillus sp. AZ6-augmented ZnO (BAZ). The experiment was conducted in pots by applying urea granules after coating with BAZ, to evaluate its effects on wheat physiology, antioxidant activity, and productivity under saline (100 mM NaCl) and non-saline (0 mM NaCl) conditions. The results revealed that the application of BAZ-coated urea alleviated salt stress through improving the seed germination, plant height, root length, photosynthetic rate, transpiration rate, stomatal conductance, soil plant analysis development (SPAD) value, number of tillers and grains, spike length, spike weight, 1000-grain weight, antioxidant activity (APX, GPX, GST, GR, CAT, and SOD), and NPK contents in the straw and grains of the wheat plants. Moreover, it also enhanced the Zn contents in the shoots and grains of wheat by up to 29.1 and 16.5%, respectively, over absolute control, under saline conditions. The relationships and variation among all the studied morpho-physio and biochemical attributes of wheat were also studied by principal component (PC) and correlation analysis. Hence, the application of such potential products may enhance nutrient availability and Zn uptake in wheat under salt stress. Therefore, the current study suggests the application of BAZ-coated urea for enhancing wheat’s physiology, antioxidant system, nutrient efficiency, and productivity effectively and economically. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Nutrition and Plant Responses to Environmental Changes)
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Review

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Review
Essential Role of Potassium in Apple and Its Implications for Management of Orchard Fertilization
Plants 2021, 10(12), 2624; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10122624 - 29 Nov 2021
Viewed by 402
Abstract
K (K) is of paramount importance for apple (Malus × domestica Borkh.), not only for tree growth and development but also for the size and quality of fruit yield. The apple plant’s demand for K varies, along with the progression of phenological [...] Read more.
K (K) is of paramount importance for apple (Malus × domestica Borkh.), not only for tree growth and development but also for the size and quality of fruit yield. The apple plant’s demand for K varies, along with the progression of phenological phases, during the growing season. The K demand peaks during ripening of fruits featuring relatively high concentration of K comparable to that of the leaves. The mainstream method of apple tree K fertilization is through application of the fertilizer to the soils to improve K uptake by the roots. The bioavailability of K depends on assorted various factors, including pH, interaction with other nutrients in soil solution, temperature, and humidity. An important role in making the K from soil available for uptake by plants is played by plant growth-promoting microorganisms (PGPM), and the specific role of the PGPM is discussed. Advantages of fertigation (the combination of irrigation and fertilization) as an approach include allowing to balance application rate of K fertilizer against its variable demand by plants during the growing season. Excess K in the soil leads to competitive inhibition of calcium uptake by plants. The K-dependent deficiency of Ca leads to its predominant channeling to the leaves and hence to its decline in fruits. Consequently, the apple fruits affected by the K/Ca imbalance frequently develop physiological disorders in storage. This emphasizes the importance of the balanced K application, especially during the last months of the growing season, depending on the crop load and the actual K demand. The potential use of modern approaches to automated crop load estimation through machine vision for adjustment of K fertilization is underlined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Nutrition and Plant Responses to Environmental Changes)
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