RESEARCH PROJECT TOPIC ON TAILORING PHYSIOLOGICALLY-BASED NANOMATERIAL FERTILISERS FOR THE BIOFORTIFICATION OF ZN IN CROPS
Background and Aims
Globally, zinc deficiency is one of the most important nutritional factors limiting crop yield and quality. Despite widespread use of foliar-applied zinc fertilizers, much remains unknown regarding the movement of zinc from the foliar surface into the vascular structure for translocation into other tissues and the key factors affecting this diffusion.
The foliar absorption of zinc increased concentrations in the underlying tissues by up to 600-fold in tomato but only up to 5-fold in citrus. The magnitude of this absorption was influenced by the form of zinc applied, the zinc status of the treated leaf and the leaf surface to which it was applied (abaxial or adaxial). Once the zinc had moved through the leaf surface it appeared to bind strongly, with limited further redistribution. Regardless of this, in these underlying tissues zinc moved into the lower-order veins, with concentrations 2- to 10-fold higher than in the adjacent tissues. However, even once in higher-order veins, the movement of zinc was still comparatively limited, with concentrations decreasing to levels similar to the background within 1–10 mm.