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versión On-line ISSN 2521-9766versión impresa ISSN 1405-3195

Agrociencia vol.41 no.5 México jul./ago. 2007



Comparison between sulfates and chelated compounds as sources of zinc and iron in calcareous soils

Rodrigo Ortega-Blu1 

Mauricio Molina-Roco2 

1 Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María. Departamento de Industrias. Casilla 110-V. Valparaíso Avenida Santa María. 6400, Santiago, Chile. (

2 Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Facultad de Agronomía e Ingeniería Forestal, Departamento de Ciencias Vegetales. Casilla 306, Santiago, Chile. (


Pot experiments were performed in a greenhouse to compare zinc (Zn) and iron (Fe) sources: 1) corn plants were grown in a Zn-deficient soil and received a Zn fertilization (0, 1.9, 3.8, and 7.7 mg kg-1; equivalent to 0, 5, 10, and 20 kg Zn ha-1) as ZnEDTA and ZnSO4; 2) sorghum plants were grown in a soil where iron chlorosis symptoms had been observed and received a Fe fertilization (0, 1.5, 3, and 6 mg kg-1; equivalent to 0, 3, 6, and 12 kg Fe ha-1) as Fe-EDDHA and FeSO4. Corn dry matter (DM), Zn concentration, and Zn uptake were higher with Zn-EDTA as compared to ZnSO4. In the sorghum experiment the highest DM production was obtained with Fe-EDDHA, which increased Fe concentration and uptake in higher proportion as compared to FeSO4. However, only highest Fe rates eliminated Fe chlorosis. Residual soil DTPA-extractable Zn and Fe levels were higher for chelates in comparison to sulfates; the largest differences between sources were found at the highest Zn and Fe rates. Although sulfates needed higher rates to achieve similar effects, their benefit/ cost relationship was higher than chelated sources due to their lower cost. However, factors such as the residual effect of each source, crop sensitivity, and the value of the crop should be also considered when choosing a Zn or Fe fertilizer source for similar soils.

Key words: Chelates; Fe-EDDHA; FeSO4; micronutrient availability; Zn and Fe uptake; Zn-EDTA; ZnSO4; residual micronutrients


Se realizaron experimentos en maceta en invernadero para comparar fuentes de cinc (Zn) y hierro (Fe): 1) se sembraron plantas de maíz en suelos deficientes en Zn y se fertilizaron con Zn (0, 1.9, 3.8, y 7.7 mg kg-1; equivalente a 0, 5, 10 y 20 kg Zn ha-1) como Zn-EDTA y ZnSO4; 2) Se sembraron plantas de sorgo en un suelo donde se habían observado síntomas de clorosis férrica y se fertilizaron con Fe (0, 1.5, 3, y 6 mg kg-1; equivalente a 0, 3, 6 y 12 kg Fe ha-1) como Fe EDDHA y FeSO4−. La materia seca (MS) del maíz, la concentración y la absorción de Zn fueron más altas con Zn-EDTA en comparación con ZnSO4. En el experimento con sorgo la producción más alta de MS se obtuvo con FeEDDHA, que aumentó la concentración y absorción de Fe en una proporción mayor en comparación con FeSO4. Sin embargo, sólo las dosis más altas de Fe eliminaron la clorosis férrica. Los niveles residuales de Zn y Fe, extractables con DTPA, en el suelo fueron más altos para los quelatos que para los sulfatos; las diferencias más grandes entre las fuentes se encontraron en las dosis más altas de Zn y Fe. Aunque los sulfatos necesitaron dosis más altas para alcanzar efectos similares, su relación beneficio/costo fue más alta que las fuentes queladas debido a su menor costo. Sin embargo, factores tales como el efecto residual de cada fuente, la sensibilidad del cultivo y su valor también deberían considerarse cuando se seleccione una fuente de fertilización de Zn o Fe para suelos similares.

Palabras clave: Quelatos; Fe-EDDHA; FeSO4; disponibilidad de micronutrientes; absorción de Zn y Fe; Zn-EDTA; ZnSO4; micronutrientes residuales

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The authors would like to thank the Company Tradecorp Spain for funding in part this research. Mauricio Molina would like to acknowledge PUC-MECESUP (0210) scholarship.

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Received: June 2006; Accepted: May 2007

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