Trace elements in plant nutrition


Some trace elements as copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), boron (B) and molybdenum (Mo) are for a long time considered plant nutrients. Some of them as nickel (Ni) and cobalt (Co) may already considered essential to plant growth, since Ni is a component of the enzyme urease and Co is present in some enzymes as dehydratases, mutases, transpherases, phosphatases. Some trace elements have no function in plant nutrition as cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), mercury (Hg), lead (Pb), barium (Ba), tin (Sn), arsenium (As), selenium (Se).

If in available forms in soil, trace elements may be up taken and accumulated in plants, what is hazardous for animal and man health. It is a way trace elements enter the man chain food. Trace elements absorbed by sugarcane and oil plants nay be transferred to the biofuel and affect its quality.

Since ingested by humans, trace elements tend to accumulate in the organism and cause several health problems, depending on the element. Some of them, as Pb and Hg, cause neurotoxic disorders which can culminate with death. So, all eforts may be due so that toxic trace elements to man do not be in available forms to plant in soils or do not get food parts of the plants as grains.

Today is somewhat known that plants may have mechanisms to protect them against absorption or translocation of trace elements to the shoot. It is the case of the production of chelatins, the ability of stocking trace elements in subcell compartments as vacuoles and even the excretion of absorbed trace elements. In this way, even growing in a soli reach in available trace elements, the plants do not present toxicity symptoms. On the other hand, some plants can absorb trace elements in a great quantity and do not present toxicity symptoms or have their growth affected. These plants may be used for remediation of polluted soils, a process named phytoremediation.

In the case of the trace elements essential to plant growth, they must be in available form in soils in the moment the plants need them for a good growth and production. If the soil is not able to supply them to the plants in quantity and in the time the plants need them, the plants will present deficiency symptoms, the growth will be affected and also the production. In this Special Symposium various aspects of the interaction of plants with trace elements will be considered in order to get information for a good plant growth and production and also to decrease the risks of man intoxication by ingesting food contaminated with toxic trace elements.

The Symposium aims to discuss the kinetic and the mechanisms of trace elements absorption by plants, the translocation and the redistribution of the uptaken elements and their accumulation in food plant parts. It is also aimed to discuss the mechanisms of plant protection against trace element toxic effects and the use of plants with the capacity of trace elements bioaccumulation for the phytoremediation of polluted areas. The symptoms of trace elements deficiency and toxicity are also the objective of this Symposium.

The Symposium is addressed to young and senior researches interested in discussing the different aspects related to the absorption and accumulation of trace elements in plants, considering the effects on plant growth and the hazardous to man health. Other people also interested in the behavior of plants cropped in soils contaminated with trace elements will welcome to the Symposium.

The Symposium will facilitate discussions on solutions to adequately supply trace elements that are plant nutrients and to avoid the absorption and accumulation of those that are toxic to plants an humans and that represent risks to the environment.

Themes for discussion in the Symposium

Some themes for discussion in the Special Symposium on Trace elements in plant nutrition are:

  • Sugarcane absorption of trace elements and biofuel quality.
  • Oil plants trace elements absorption and biodiesel quality.
  • Kinetic of trace elements absorption, translocation and redistribution by annual and perennial plants.
  • Mechanisms of plant protection against toxic trace elements.
  • Nutritional disorders caused by the deficiency or excess of trace elements.
  • Trace elements and plant enzyme activity.
  • Trace elements accumulation in plant food parts.
  • Chemistry and biochemistry methods to estimate trace elements availability to plants.
  • Chemistry and biochemistry methods to evaluate plant nutritional state related to trace elements
  • Competition of trace elements and other metals for plant absorption.
  • Trace elements and physiological process in plants.
  • Plants for phytoremediation.
  • Leaf diagnosis related to trace elements.

Committee (Symposium Organizers)

W. José de Melo, Faculdade de Ciências Agrárias e Veterinárias UNESP, (Brazil)
Enzo Lombi, Faculty of Life Science, University of Copenhagen (Denmark)
Renato de Mello Prado, Faculdade de Ciências Agrárias e Veterinárias UNESP, (Brazil)
Ronaldo Severiano Berton, Instituto Agronômico de Campinas - IAC (Brazil)


W. José de Melo
Departamento de Tecnologia, Bioquímica do Solo
Faculdade de Ciências Agrárias e Veterinárias UNESP, (Brazil)

Enzo Lombi
Associate Professor
Plant and Soil Science Laboratory
Department of Agricultural Sciences
Faculty of Life Science
University of Copenhagen
Thorvaldsensvej 40, 1871 Frederiksberg C
Tel. +45 3533 2199

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