Towards a knowledge-based correction of iron chlorosis

Plant Physiol Biochem. 2011 May;49(5):471-82. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2011.01.026. Epub 2011 Feb 3.


Iron (Fe) deficiency-induced chlorosis is a major nutritional disorder in crops growing in calcareous soils. Iron deficiency in fruit tree crops causes chlorosis, decreases in vegetative growth and marked fruit yield and quality losses. Therefore, Fe fertilizers, either applied to the soil or delivered to the foliage, are used every year to control Fe deficiency in these crops. On the other hand, a substantial body of knowledge is available on the fundamentals of Fe uptake, long and short distance Fe transport and subcellular Fe allocation in plants. Most of this basic knowledge, however, applies only to Fe deficiency, with studies involving Fe fertilization (i.e., with Fe-deficient plants resupplied with Fe) being still scarce. This paper reviews recent developments in Fe-fertilizer research and the state-of-the-art of the knowledge on Fe acquisition, transport and utilization in plants. Also, the effects of Fe-fertilization on the plant responses to Fe deficiency are reviewed. Agronomical Fe-fertilization practices should benefit from the basic knowledge on plant Fe homeostasis already available; this should be considered as a long-term goal that can optimize fertilizer inputs, reduce grower's costs and minimize the environmental impact of fertilization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chloroplasts / metabolism
  • Crops, Agricultural / metabolism*
  • Ethylenediamines / metabolism
  • FMN Reductase / metabolism
  • Ferric Compounds / analysis
  • Ferric Compounds / metabolism*
  • Fertilizers*
  • Homeostasis
  • Iron / analysis
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Iron Chelating Agents / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Phloem / metabolism
  • Plant Diseases / prevention & control
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Transport
  • Prunus / metabolism
  • Soil / chemistry
  • Xylem / metabolism


  • Ethylenediamines
  • Ferric Compounds
  • Fertilizers
  • Iron Chelating Agents
  • Plant Proteins
  • Soil
  • Iron
  • FMN Reductase
  • ferric citrate iron reductase