The toxic action of molybdenum in relation to soils and crops

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Brenchley, W. E. 1948. The toxic action of molybdenum in relation to soils and crops. Annals of Applied Biology - AAB. 35 (2), pp. 139-160.

AuthorsBrenchley, W. E.

The harmful effect of molybdenum on animals is well established, but there is comparatively little knowledge of the conditions in which molybdenum is poisonous to plants. Obvious differences in response to molybdenum poisoning in different soils have been previously noted, but no adequate explanation has been put forward. Tomatoes grown in ordinary loam showed little outward sign of poisoning with heavy doses of sodium molybdate, but some depression of crop occasionally occurred, especially when the dose was divided into early and late treatments. The response varied with season and variety. On certain light and fen soils the plants were killed at an early stage with the heavier dressing of molybdate, and seriously injured with the lighter dose, the leaves showing the golden colour characteristic of molybdenum poisoning in various plants. The reaction of different crops varied considerably in the same soil with similar treatments. On old cucumber soil tomatoes showed no sign of toxicity even with the heavy dressing, flax was progressively damaged with increasing doses, while Solanum nodiflorum was most seriously affected even with the lighter dressing of molybdate. It was impossible to predict the reaction between soil, poison and crop without actual experiment. The growth of flax was greatly impeded on a manganese-deficient fen soil, and the molybdenum toxicity was masked in consequence. When the deficiency was corrected the poisonous effect of molybdenum on this soil was very marked, even with the lower dressing. The composting of loam with peat usually, but not invariably, resulted in a reduction of the toxicity of molybdenum. The different results obtained with several crops on a variety of soils still yield no definite clue to the factors which determine the relative toxicity of molybdenum to plant growth and such points as soil acidity, response to climatic conditions and nutritive deficiencies are among those which need further investigation.

Year of Publication1948
JournalAnnals of Applied Biology - AAB
Journal citation35 (2), pp. 139-160
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as non-open access

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