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Iron Sources Effects on Growth, Physiological Parameters and Nutrition of Cacao

V. C. Baligar, R. C. Sicher, M. K. Elson, Z. He, N. K. Fageria, J. O. De Souza Junior, A.-A. Almeida, D. Ahnert
Journal of plant nutrition 2015 v.38 no.11 pp. 1787-1802
EDTA (chelating agent), Theobroma cacao, biomass production, carbon dioxide, carotenoids, chlorophyll, copper, greenhouse experimentation, herbicides, iron, leaves, manganese, nutrient content, photosynthesis, pigments, plant nutrition, roots, shoots, starch, stomatal conductance, tropical soils, zinc
Productivity and sustainability of cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) in tropical soils are affected by levels of iron. Information is lacking on the cacao response to various sources of iron (Fe). A greenhouse experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of five iron sources iron sulfate heptahydrate, ferric ethylenediamine-N,N’-bis(2-hydroxyphenylacetic acid), ferric diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid, ferric ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, fiesta herbicide (FeSO ₄ · 7H ₂O, FeEDDHA, FeDTPA, FeEDTA,) at 10 mg Fe kg ⁻¹ soil on growth, photosynthesis, content of photosynthetic pigments and starch and macro- and micronutrient nutrition of cacao. The various iron sources had significant effects on shoot and root dry biomass accumulation, leaf chlorophyll a and b content, carotenoid levels, SPAD index and P N. These parameters were significantly correlated with concentration, uptake, influx, and transport and use efficiency of Fe. In cacao net photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, internal carbon dioxide (CO ₂) , and transpiration in leaf level responded differently to the sources of Fe. Invariably, macro and micronutrient uptake, influx, transport, and use efficiency showed differential responses to sources of iron but significant effects were only observed for copper (Cu), Fe, manganese (Mn), and zinc (Zn). Overall, FeDTPA, FeEDTA and FeHEDTA could be the best sources of Fe in improving, growth, photosynthesis and macro and micro nutrition of cacao.