Zinc Nutritional Status on Physiological and Nutritional Indicators, Metabolism of Oxidative Stress, Yield and Fruit Quality of Pecan Tree
In the United States of America and in Mexico, zinc deficiency is a common nutritional disorder in pecan trees [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) C. Koch], especially in calcareous soils. This study in Chihuahua, northern Mexico, analyses the effects of zinc nutritional status on various physiological and nutritional indicators, on the metabolism of oxidative stress, and on the yield and fruit quality of pecan. The aim was to identify possible bioindicators of soil zinc deficiency. The experimental design was completely randomized with four nutritional conditions with respect to zinc: a control and three levels of zinc deficiency - slight, moderate and severe. Zinc deficiency is characterised by small leaves with interveinal necrosis and rippled leaf margins. The lowest values of leaf area, SPAD values, total N and NO3 concentration were observed under conditions of severe zinc deficiency. With worsening zinc deficiency, results indicate an increased enzymatic activity of superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase. Interestingly, under severe zinc deficiency there are decreases in trunk cross-sectional area growth, in yield and in percentage kernel. Increased activity of superoxide dismutase, catalase and peroxidase enzymes is associated with detoxification of reactive oxygen species. The activity of enzymes detoxifying reactive oxygen species lessens the negative effects of zinc deficiency stress, and may be good bioindicators of zinc deficiency and its visual symptoms on pecan trees.
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