Chelated Micronutrients: Everything You Need to Know

  • , by Agriplex India
  • 5 min reading time

In the world of agriculture and horticulture, plant nutrition plays a critical role in ensuring healthy growth and optimum yields. Micronutrients, such as iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and others, are essential for plants' vital functions. However, these micronutrients are often found in forms that are not readily available to plants. This is where chelated micronutrients come into play. In this blog, we will explore what chelated micronutrients are, how they work, their benefits over non-chelated counterparts, different types of chelated nutrients, and their applications, and answer some frequently asked questions.

Micro Nutrients

1. What are Chelated micronutrients?

Chelated micronutrients are essential trace elements that are chemically combined with organic molecules to form complexes. These organic molecules, known as chelating agents, envelop the micronutrient ions, protecting them from reactions with other compounds in the soil and preventing them from becoming chemically unavailable to plants. The term "chelate" originates from the Greek word "chelē," which means "claw," as the chelating agent wraps around the micronutrient ion, much like a claw.

2. How Chelated micronutrients Work?

The chelating agent forms a complex with the micronutrient, which makes it more soluble and less likely to react with other molecules. This allows the nutrient to be absorbed more easily by the plant or animal.

3. Benefits of Chelated micronutrients

a) Improved Nutrient Availability: Chelation prevents micronutrients from forming insoluble compounds in the soil, making them readily available for plant uptake, even in alkaline or high-pH soils.

b) Increased Nutrient Uptake:   Chelated micronutrients are efficiently absorbed by plant roots and leaves, ensuring maximum nutrient utilization and minimizing losses due to leaching.

c) Enhanced Plant Growth: By providing plants with essential micronutrients in an accessible form, chelates promote healthier growth, greener foliage, and stronger root systems.

d) Stress Tolerance:  Chelated micronutrients play a vital role in enabling plants to cope with environmental stresses, such as drought, temperature fluctuations, and disease.

e) Balanced Nutrition:  Chelated micronutrients can be precisely targeted to address specific nutrient deficiencies, ensuring balanced nutrition for different types of crops.

4. Difference Between Chelated and Non-chelated Micronutrients

The main difference between chelated and non-chelated micronutrients is the way that they are bound to the organic molecule. In non-chelated micronutrients, the nutrient is simply dissolved in water. This makes the nutrient more susceptible to oxidation and precipitation, and it can also be more difficult for plants and animals to absorb. Chelated micronutrients, on the other hand, are bound to the organic molecule in a way that protects them from oxidation and precipitation. This makes them more stable and more easily absorbed.

5. Types of Chelated Micronutrients and Their Applications

a) EDDHA (Ethylenediamine-N, N'-bis(2-hydroxyphenylacetic acid)): Suitable for alkaline and calcareous soils, EDDHA chelates are effective in providing iron to plants, especially in high-pH conditions.

b) DTPA (Diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid): DTPA chelates are utilized to deliver iron, manganese, copper, and zinc. They work well in moderately alkaline soils.

c) EDTA (Ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid): EDTA chelates are versatile and effective for a wide range of soil pH levels, providing essential nutrients like iron, manganese, copper, and zinc.

d) HEDTA (Hydroxyethyl ethylenediamine triacetic acid): HEDTA chelates are used for foliar applications to deliver micronutrients like iron to plants.

Q&A

What are the most common micronutrient deficiencies?

The most common micronutrient deficiencies are iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and boron. These deficiencies can occur in both plants and animals, and they can lead to a variety of health problems.

How do I know if my plants or animals are deficient in micronutrients?

There are a few signs that can indicate a micronutrient deficiency. In plants, these signs may include yellowing leaves, stunted growth, and poor yields. In animals, these signs may include weight loss, hair loss, and decreased fertility.

How do I treat a micronutrient deficiency?

The best way to treat a micronutrient deficiency is to provide the missing nutrient. This can be done by applying chelated micronutrients to the soil, feeding chelated micronutrient supplements to animals, or taking chelated micronutrient supplements.

Where can I buy Chelated micronutrients?

Chelated micronutrients are available online at Agriplex also in other from a variety of sources, including garden centers, feed stores, and online retailers

How can I determine if my soil needs Chelated micronutrients?

Soil testing is the best way to determine nutrient deficiencies. If the test reveals low levels of essential micronutrients, Chelated micronutrients can be a targeted and effective solution.

Can Chelated micronutrients be applied through foliar spray?

Yes, chelated micronutrients can be applied as foliar sprays, especially when a quick correction of micronutrient deficiencies is required. Foliar applications allow for direct absorption through the leaves.

Can Chelated micronutrients be used in hydroponic systems?

Yes, chelated micronutrients are suitable for hydroponic systems as they provide essential nutrients in a highly available form, ideal for the nutrient solutions used in soilless growing environments.

Conclusion

Chelated micronutrients offer an efficient and eco-friendly solution for addressing nutrient deficiencies in plants. Their superior bioavailability, improved nutrient uptake, and stress-tolerance benefits make them a valuable tool for modern agriculture and horticulture practices. By understanding the different types of chelated micronutrients and their applications, growers can tailor their nutrient management strategies to achieve healthier plants and higher yields. Incorporating chelated micronutrients into crop management practices can unlock the full potential of efficient plant nutrition and contribute to sustainable agriculture.

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