Assessment of the Zn status of chickpea by plant analysis

H.R. Khan, G.K. Mcdonald, Zed Rengel

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    Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) is extensively grown in areas where soils are deficient in zinc (Zn). To determine the response of chickpea to Zn nutrition and to diagnose Zn status in plant tissue, two glasshouse experiments were conducted using Zn-deficient siliceous sandy soil. In Experiment 1, two genotypes of desi chickpea (Dooen and Tyson) were grown at five Zn levels (0, 0.04, 0.2, 1.0 and 5.0 mg kg(-1) of soil). After 4 weeks, no difference in growth and no visible symptoms of Zn deficiency were detected. After 6-8 weeks of growth, chlorosis of younger leaves and stipules occured in the Zn-0 treatment, with shoot dry weight being only 24% of that recorded at the highest Zn level. Root growth increased from 0.52 g/plant when no Zn was applied to 1.04 g/plant in the treatment with 0.2 mg Zn kg(-1) of soil; no response to further increase of Zn fertilization occurred. Zinc concentration in the whole shoot increased significantly with increased in Zn application. The critical Zn concentration in the shoot tissue, associated with 90% of maximum growth, was 20 mg kg(-1) for both genotypes at flowering stage.In the second experiment, two genotypes of desi chickpea (Tyson and T-1587) were grown at three Zn levels (0, 0.5 and 2.5 mg kg(-1) of soil) under two moisture regimes (field capacity 12% w/w, and water stress 4% w/w). Shoot growth was influenced by both Zn supply and water stress. The effect of water stress was severe in the 0.5 and 2.5 mg Zn treatments where shoot dry matter was reduced 52 and 46%, respectively. T-1587 was less sensitive to Zn deficiency and produced higher shoot dry weight than Tyson in the Zn-0 treatment. Zinc concentration in shoots increased from 5 mg kg(-1) when no Zn was applied to 40 mg kg(-1) at the highest Zn level. The critical Zn concentration in shoots was 21 mg kg(-1).The results of the two experiments showed that the critical concentration for Zn did not differ amongst the three cultivars used and was not affected by soil moisture. Similar studies should be undertaken with a wider number of genotypes to discover if a critical concentration of 20-21 mg kg(-1) in the shoot can be used to diagose the Zn status of chickpea genotypes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-9
    JournalPlant and Soil: An International Journal on Plant-Soil Relationships
    Issue numberNo. 1, January (I)
    Publication statusPublished - 1998


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