Bio-fortification of potato tubers using foliar zinc-fertiliser

Philip J. White, Martin R. Broadley, John P. Hammond, Gavin Ramsay, Nithya K. Subramanian, Jacqueline Thompson, Gladys Wright

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    36 Citations (Scopus)


    Worldwide, many people are zinc (Zn)-deficient. Dietary Zn intake can be increased by producing crops with higher concentrations of Zn in their edible portions. This can be achieved by applying Zn-fertilisers to varieties with an increased ability to acquire Zn and to accumulate Zn in their edible portions. Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is an important food crop and is, therefore, a target for bio-fortification with Zn. Field trials incorporating a core collection of 23 potato genotypes, performed over 4 years (2006 - 2009), indicated significant genotypic effects on tuber Zn concentration and suggested that tuber Zn concentration was influenced by environmental effects, but also found that genotype x environment (G x E) interactions were not significant. Tuber Zn concentrations averaged 10.8 mg kg(-1) dry matter (DM), and the ratio between the lowest and the highest varietal tuber Zn-concentration averaged 1.76. Tuber Zn concentrations could be increased by foliar Zn-fertilisation. Tuber yields of 'Maris Piper' were unaffected by foliar applications of < 1.08 g Zn plant(-1). The relationship between tuber Zn concentration and foliar Zn application followed a saturation curve, reaching a maximum at approx. 30 mg Zn kg(-1) DM at a foliar Zn application rate of 1.08 g plant(-1). Despite a 40-fold increase in shoot Zn concentration compared to the unfertilised controls following foliar Zn-fertilisation with 2.16 g Zn plant(-1), only a doubling in tuber Zn concentration was observed. This suggests that the bio-fortification of tubers with Zn was restricted by the limited mobility of Zn in the phloem. A significant positive linear relationship between tuber Zn concentration and tuber N concentration supported the hypothesis of co-transport of Zn and N-compounds in the phloem.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)123-129
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


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