Considerations on the shuttle mechanism of FeEDDHA chelates at the soil-root interface in case of Fe deficiency

W.D.C. Schenkeveld, A.M. Reichwein, E.J.M. Temminghoff, W.H. van Riemsdijk

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12 Citations (Scopus)


A mechanism of action for the performance of Fe chelates as soil-applied fertilizer has been hypothesized by Lindsay and Schwab (J Plant Nutr 5:821-840, 1982), in which the ligand participates in a cyclic process of delivering Fe at the root surface and mobilizing Fe from the soil. This "shuttle mechanism" seems appealing in view of fertilizer efficiency, but little is known about its performance. The chelate FeEDDHA is a commonly used Fe fertilizer on calcareous soils. In this study, the performance of the shuttle mechanism has been examined for FeEDDHA chelates in soil interaction and pot trial experiments. The specificity of EDDHA ligands for chelating Fe from soils of low Fe availability is limited. Experimental support for a shuttle mechanism in soil-plant systems with FeEDDHA was found: specific metal mobilization only occurred upon FeEDDHA-facilitated Fe uptake. The mobilized metals originated at least in part from the root surface instead of the soil. The results from this study support the existence of a shuttle mechanism with FeEDDHA in soil application. If the efficiency of the shuttle mechanism is however largely controlled by metal availability in the bulk soil, it is heavily compromised by complexation of competing cations: Al, Mn and particularly Cu.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-387
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • strategy i plants
  • calcareous soil
  • lolium-perenne
  • metal uptake
  • iron uptake
  • complexes
  • eddha
  • chlorosis
  • isomers
  • montmorillonite


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