Linking soil adsorption-desorption characteristics with grain zinc concentrations and uptake by teff, wheat and maize in different landscape positions in Ethiopia

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Kebede-Desta, M., Broadley, M., McGrath, S. P., Hernandez-Allica, J., Hassall, K. L., Gameda, S., Amede, T. and Haefele, S. M. 2023. Linking soil adsorption-desorption characteristics with grain zinc concentrations and uptake by teff, wheat and maize in different landscape positions in Ethiopia. Frontiers in Agronomy. 5, p. 1285880. https://doi.org/10.3389/fagro.2023.1285880

AuthorsKebede-Desta, M., Broadley, M., McGrath, S. P., Hernandez-Allica, J., Hassall, K. L., Gameda, S., Amede, T. and Haefele, S. M.
Abstract

Aim:
Zinc deficiencies are widespread in many soils, limiting crop growth and contributing to Zn deficiencies in human diets. This study aimed at understanding soil factors influencing grain Zn concentrations and uptake of crops grown in different landscape positions in West Amhara, Ethiopia.
Methods
On-farm experiments were conducted in three landscape positions, with five farmers’ fields as replicates in each landscape position, and at three sites. Available Zn from the soil (Mehlich 3, M3, Zn) and applied fertilizer (NET_FERT Zn, estimated based on adsorption/desorption characteristics and applied Zn) were related to the actual grain Zn concentration and uptake of teff, wheat, and maize. Zinc fertilizer treatments tested were Zn applied at planting (basal), basal plus side dressing and a control with no Zn applied.
Results:
Zn treatments had a significant effect on grain Zn concentration (increase by up to 10%) but the effect on grain yield was variable. Differences in crop Zn concentrations along the landscape positions were observed but not at all sites and crops. Trial results showed that soils with higher soil pH and Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) (typical of footslope landscape positions) tended to adsorb more applied Zn (reduce NET_FERT Zn) than soils with lower soil pH and SOC (typical of upslope landscape positions). Zn availability indicators (M3, NET_FERT Zn, clay%) explained 14-52% of the observed variation in grain Zn concentrations, whereas macronutrient indicators (Total N, exchangeable K) together with M3 Zn were better in predicting grain Zn uptake (16 to 32% explained variability). Maize had the lowest grain Zn concentrations but the highest grain Zn uptake due to high yields.
Conclusions:
We found that the sum of indigenous and fertilizer Zn significantly affects grain Zn loadings of cereals and that the associated soil parameters differ between and within landscape positions. Therefore, knowledge of soil properties and crop characteristics helps to understand where agronomic biofortification can be effective.

KeywordsAgronomic biofortification; Cereals; East Africa; Grain zinc; Malnutrition; Soil zinc
Year of Publication2023
JournalFrontiers in Agronomy
Journal citation5, p. 1285880
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3389/fagro.2023.1285880
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeGeoNutrition
S2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 1 (WP1) - Optimising nutrient flows and pools in the soil-plant-biota system
Growing Health [ISP]
Growing Health (WP2) - bio-inspired solutions for healthier agroecosystems: Understanding soil environments
Growing Health (WP3) - bio-inspired solutions for healthier agroecosystems: Discovery landscapes
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online13 Nov 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted17 Oct 2023
PublisherFrontiers Media SA
ISSN2673-3218

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