Differences in absorption and distribution of foliarly-applied zinc in maize and wheat by using stable isotope of 70Zn and Zn-responsive fluorescent dye Zinpyr

Zinc (Zn) deficiency is an important health problem worldwide, affecting about two billion people, especially children and women. Zinc deficiency related diseases are more prevailing in developing countries because populationa rely on cereals (i.e., wheat, rice and maize) as a staple food which are inherently low in micronutrients. Zinc concentration in cereal grains can be improved by genetic or agronomic biofortification. Optimized applications of soil and foliar Zn fertilizers has been found effective for cereals like wheat and rice but not significantly in maize. Current study focuses to elucidate the physiological reasons behind the poor response of maize to foliar applications compared to wheat. Experiments with stable isotope of Zn (70Zn) revealed the differences in leaf uptake, root and shoot translocation of foliar-applied Zn in wheat and maize. The results suggested that wheat has greater capacity for leaf absorption and translocation of foliarly applied Zn compared to maize. The increased leaf Zn uptake and localization in wheat was confirmed by a visual demonstration using Zn-responsive fluorescent dye Zinpyr and fluoresce microscopy. This study provides valuable information to maximize the uptake and deposition of foliarly applied Zn to cereal grains.

Sabanci University
Levent Ozturk, Ismail Cakmak
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