Ornamental nursery and floral crops require micronutrients like iron, manganese, copper and zinc. But fertilizers that provide these micronutrients often include synthetically produced compounds that bind with the micronutrients so they are available in the root zone.
The most commonly used compounds, known as chelating agents, are not readily biodegradable, and can extract metals from sediments. Their use is believed to add to the amounts of iron and other heavy metals that sometimes flow into or become soluble in waterways. Concerns in Europe about one, called EDTA, have prompted calls there for use of alternative chelating agents.
Joseph Albano, a horticulturalist with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory in Fort Pierce, Fla., thinks he has found a "green" alternative for the floral and nursery crop industries. ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports USDA's commitment to agricultural sustainability.
Albano's alternative chelating agent is known as EDDS. It is a natural compound that is biodegradable and less likely to persist in the environment.
In a series of studies, Albano grew marigolds in standard soil-less potting media using fertilizers formulated with EDDS or one of two commonly used chelating agents: EDTA and DTPA. Each of the three treatments was chelated with iron so Albano could assess the effectiveness of EDDS as a fertilizer iron source.
The results showed that EDDS was a suitable chelating agent for use in fertilizers. There were no differences in plant growth or leaf-tissue iron levels among plants grown with iron-EDDS, those grown with iron-EDTA, or those grown with iron-DTPA fertilizers.
Iron-chelates, like iron-EDTA and iron-DTPA, degrade when exposed to light (photodegradation), so they are often stored in opaque containers that prevent exposure to sunlight. Albano also assessed iron-EDDS photodegradation and discovered that iron-EDDS degraded more quickly than iron-EDTA when exposed to light, which would contribute to its low persistence in the environment. Given how quickly it degrades, Albano recommends that iron-EDDS chelates also be stored in opaque containers.
The report, published in HortScience, was the first peer-reviewed study to evaluate EDDS as a chelating agent in fertilizers used in the production of a floricultural crop, according to Albano. The work is expected to encourage the use of EDDS as an environmentally friendly chelating agent in floral and nursery crop operations.
Read more about this research in the August 2012 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
How much drought can a forest take?
20.01.2017 | University of California - Davis
Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences