Biofortification and subcellular localization of minerals in faba bean as influenced by Mg foliar application




Biofortification, Magnesium, Foliar fertilization, Apoplast, Symplast, Vicia faba, Ion antagonism


Foliar application of Mg is a measure for the correction of Mg deficiency in crop plants. Foliar applied nutrients need to access the symplastic side where majority of physiological processes take place. To achieve an adequate uptake of the Mg ions through the leaf surface, high concentrations of of 100-200 mM MgSO4 are usually supplied. This can cause antagonistic perturbations on the subcellular distribution of Caand K cations. To test for such unintended side effects, we used the infiltration-centrifugation method to extract ions from the apoplastic and symplastic side of Vicia faba leaves and quantified concentrations of Mg, Ca and K in dependency to the dose of the foliar fertilized Mg. Results show that a large fraction of Mg accesses the symplast whereas the apoplastic fraction shows a concomitant increase. Symplastic and apoplastic K and Ca relations were only affected under conditions of high exogenous leaf supply of Mg (200 mM) but did not change upon moderate Mg supply (50; 100 mM). Overall, results reveal the suitability of leaf fertilization to biofortify plant-based products with magnesium. With respect to human nutrition, care must be taken that K and Ca do not become impoverished based on antagonistic effects.

Author Biography

Karl H. Mühling, Kiel University

Institute of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science