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Zn Increased Flowering and Pod Setting in Faba Beans and its Interaction with Fe in Relation to Their Contents in Different Plant Parts

M.F. El-Masri, A. Amberger, Mohamed M. El-Fouly and A.I. Rezk
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A pot experiment was conducted under controlled conditions to study the effect of spraying Zn, Fe and their interactions on pod setting in faba beans. Fe and Zn concentrations were determined in leaves, stems and pods. Faba bean var. Giza 3 was used. Zn treatment increased the number of flowers and pods and percentage of pod setting. Fe showed adverse effects. Zn concentration in all organs was increased by spraying Zn, while it was not affected by spraying Fe. Fe spraying led to increases the Fe content in leaves and stems, while Fe content in pods was decreased. Spraying Zn caused Fe decreases in leaves and pods. Treatments which increased flowering and pod setting showed lower Fe/Zn ratios than the control and vice versa.

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  How to cite this article:

M.F. El-Masri, A. Amberger, Mohamed M. El-Fouly and A.I. Rezk, 2002. Zn Increased Flowering and Pod Setting in Faba Beans and its Interaction with Fe in Relation to Their Contents in Different Plant Parts. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 5: 143-145.

DOI: 10.3923/pjbs.2002.143.145



Deficiency of micronutrients, especially Zn, Fe and Mn are widespread in most crops in Egypt either due to low available concentration in the soil, high demand of crops, nutrient imbalance or unfavorable agronomic practices (El-Fouly, 1983; El-Fouly et al., 1984; Wallace, 1980; Amberger, 1980; Fawzi et al., 1987). Spraying of micronutrients under field conditions in Egypt was found to increase the yield (Gomma et al., 1986; Eweida et al., 1980; El- Sheikh, 1981; Fawzi et al., 1983; Hadi et al., 1985; Fouly and Rezk, 1986). These studies were carried out using single elements or combinations of different elements. A previous field study to compare the effect of Fe, Zn and their combination on the yield of faba beans showed that each Zn and Fe alone as foliar spray caused increases in yield. The increase was higher in case of Zn application (El-Fouly et al., 1996). Zn concentration in leaves was increased, while Fe concentration did not show considerable changes. Pod setting is influenced by different factors (El-Fouly, 1982). The present pot experiment was carried out to study the effect of Zn, Fe and their combination on pod setting in relation to their contents in different plant parts.

Materials and Methods

A pot experiment was conducted in a controlled greenhouse under 13hr light period with day temperature set at 20°C and night temperature at 15°C in the institute of Plant Nutrition, Technical University Munich. The pots were filled with 12 kg of air dried sandy clay loam soil with a pH of 7.6 and 12.4 % CaCO3 and 0.9 ppm, 4.5 ppm, 170 mg/100 gm, 1.5 mg/100g and 25 mg/100 gm of Zn, Fe, N, P and K, respectively. Demineralized water was applied to bring the soil to its field capacity, which was initially determined in the laboratory. The soil was allowed to equilibrate for 24 hours before seeding. Each pot was seeded with eight seeds of faba bean (cultivar Giza 3 ). Two weeks later, the plants were thinned to six plants per pot. The pots were irrigated daily with demineralized water to maintain 60% of field capacity through weighed-pot technique. The soil surface was frequently stirred with a glass rod to prevent surface crusting.

A basal application of 48 mg N, 360 mg P2O5 and 360 mg K2O per pot were applied uniformly and individually to each pot in a solution form following three foliar application treatments were conducted : without spraying (control), one spray, 35 days after sowing and two sprays, 35 days and 45 days after sowing. The treatments were designed in split-plot with six replications, where the main plots were assigned for Fe treatments and the sub-plots for Zn treatments. The concentration of spray solutions were 50 ppm for iron / or Zinc in EDTA chelated form. Number of flowers and pods were counted every four days as an average of four plants, starting at 35 and 42 days-old plants for flowers and pods respectively. Pod set percentage was calculated as follows:

Number of pods/number of flowers per plant X 100

The plant sampling was done once, 60 days after sowing for nutrient determinations, plants were divided into; leaves, stems and pods. Plant samples were washed three times with acidified distilled water and then once with bidistilled water, dried at 70°C for 24 hours, ground in stainless steel mill to pass through 0.5 mm sieve. The samples ( 1.0 gm ) were wet digested in HNO3- HClO4- H2SO4 mixture in a ratio of 8:1:1 (Chapman and Pratt, 1961). Atomic absorption spectrophotometer (Zeiss FMD3) apparatus was used, for nutrient determination. Data were statistically analyzed according to Snedecor and Cocharan (1967). The mean values for studied factors were compared by either L.S.D. or Duncan,s test significance.

Results and Discussion

It is clear from the data given in Table 1 that, the number of flowers and pods as well as the pod setting percentage were significantly increased by foliar spraying of 50 ppm Zn. Increasing the number of sprays tended to increase both number of flowers and pods per plant, while pod setting percentage was not changed as compared with control. Two sprays of zinc produced the highest number of flowers and pods per plant and highest pod setting percentage. In contrast to the positive effect of Zn, foliar spraying of Fe significantly decreased the number of flowers and pods as well as the pod setting percentage (Table 1). The interaction effect of both zinc and iron (Table 2) shows that, two sprays of zinc without Fe resulted in the highest number of flowers (103.1) and pods (6.8) per plant and pod set percentage (6.8%).

Table 1: Effect of spraying Fe and Zn on number of flowers and pods of faba bean plants
Values with the same letter are not significantly different.

Table 2: Interaction effect of spraying Fe and Zn on number of flowers and pod setting of faba bean plants
n.s. = not significant.

On the other hand, either one or two sprays of Fe decreased these numbers at all treatments of zinc. These findings are in accordance with the results of other workers (Ewieda et al., 1980; Saber, 1980; El-Sheikh, 1981; Abdel- Aziz et al., 1982; Fawzi et al., 1983; El-Fouly and Rezk, 1986; Gomaa et al., 1986; Ibrahim and El-Labban, 1986; Amin et al., 1988).

Irrespective of Fe treatments, two sprays of Zn caused the significant increase in zinc concentration of both leaves and stems, but either one or two sprays make a significant increase in pods content of zinc as compared with that of no spray treatment.

Table 3:Effect of spraying Zn and Fe on their concentrations in faba bean plants
Values with the same letter are not significantly different.

Whereas iron treatments had no significant effects on zinc concentration in all plant parts. Gomaa et al. (1986) and Fawzi et al. (1983) reported similar results. Leaves of faba bean plants had the highest zinc concentration followed by stem and pods (Table 3). The results obtained for zinc concentration of different parts of faba bean plants as affected by foliar application of Zn and/or Fe are illustrated in Table 4. Zinc concentration of leaves and stems increased as the number of sprays with Zn-EDTA was increased (two times), at the first two treatments of Fe. Whereas Zn concentration of leaves was not affected when it was sprayed two times with Fe- EDTA. However, the Zn concentration of stems was increased. No appreciable differences have been found in zinc concentration of leaves, stems and pods due to one Zn treatments at all treatments of iron. But, at two sprays treatments of zinc the differences were distinct and tended to decrease with foliar application of iron. Table 5 shows that the ratio Fe/Zn is closely related with the effect of different treatments on flowering and pod setting. Treatments, which increased flowering and pod setting were characterized by lower Fe / Zn ratio than the control. High Fe/Zn ratios were found in treatments which showed lower flowering and pod setting rates.

Table 4:Interaction effect of Fe and Zn spraying on their contents of different parts of faba bean plants.
n.s. not significant.

Table 5:Effect of Zn and Fe on Fe/Zn ratio in different organs of faba bean plants.

Spraying the plants with Fe, irrespective of zinc treatments significantly increased the Fe concentration in leaves and stems, and decreased its concentration in pods. The highest Fe concentration in leaves and stems was recorded by foliar application of Fe-EDTA twice. On the other hand, spraying the plants with Zn significantly decreased the iron contents of both leaves and pods in particular at the two zinc spray treatments, while the concentration of Fe in stems was not affected by Zn treatments. The results showed that, iron concentration of leaves and stems decreased significantly as the number of Zn sprays increased. This might be a consequence of the increase in Zn content due to spraying with Zn, indicating a negative interaction between Zn and Fe concentrations in leaves and stems. Whereas, iron concentration in faba bean pods remained more or less constant with the application of iron at all zinc treatments. These findings are similar to those, obtained by Amin et al. (1988). They showed that when faba bean plants grown in pots and sprayed 3 times with 0.04% Fe-, Zn -, and Mn- EDTA, Zinc content was slightly increased but Fe and Mn were less influenced.


This paper represents part of the activities of the Egypto-German Project“ Micronutrient and plant Nutrition Problems in Egypt “ conducted by the National Research Center, Cairo (Co-ordinator Prof. Dr. M.M. El-Fouly ) and the Institute of plant Nutrition, Technical University Munich (Prof. Dr. A. Amberger). It was supported by the German Agency for Technical Co-operation (GTZ), FRG and the Egyptian Academy for Scientific Research and Technology (ASRT). M.F. El-Masri wishes to thank DAAD for awarding a scholarship during his stay in FRG.

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