Growth and Nutritional Efficiency of Watermelon Plants Grown under Macronutrient Deficiencies

in HortScience

Biological damage caused by macronutrient deficiency in watermelon plants is still not known, and may lead to nutritional disorders and alterations in absorption and utilization efficiencies, depending on the evaluated nutrient. In this context, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the growth and nutritional efficiency of watermelon plants grown under macronutrient deficiencies. The experiments were carried out in pots containing an aerated nutrient solution. Treatments consisted of the nutrient solution containing (control) or lacking nitrogen (−N), phosphorus (−P), potassium (−K), calcium (−Ca), magnesium (−Mg), and sulfur (−S), in a completely randomized design with three replications. At the end of the experiment with the onset of symptoms of deficiency, plant growth, green color index, nutrient accumulation, nutrient uptake, nutrient utilization efficiency, root density, and foliar deficiency symptoms were evaluated. P, K, Ca, Mg, and S deficiencies increased plant utilization efficiency and can potentiate watermelon development in environments deficient in these nutrients. The opposite was observed concerning nitrogen deficiency, because this condition induced greater biological damage, with low utilization efficiency, indicating the sensitivity of this species in low N conditions.

Contributor Notes

Corresponding author. E-mail: valeria.cavalcante.agro@gmail.com.

Article Sections

Article Figures

  • View in gallery

    Absorption (A), utilization (B), and translocation (C) efficiencies for nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S) in watermelon plants due to macronutrient omission compared with the controls (CS, complete solution) grown in the complete nutrient solution. The same letters in the graph bars indicate that the means do not differ by Tukey’s test at a probability level of 5%. For absorption efficiency minimum significant difference (MSD)−N: 0.08; MSD−P: 0.01; MSD−K: 0.05; MSD−Ca: 0.06; MSD−Mg: 0.01; MSD−S: 0.005. For utilization efficiency MSD−N: 340.6; MSD−P: 5088.9; MSD−K: 258.1; MSD−Ca: 1007.1; MSD−Mg: 4701.5; MSD−S: 6468.2. For translocation efficiency MSD–N: 8.56; MDS–P: 18.78; MDS–K: 10.77; MDS–Ca: 11.56; MDS–Mg: 8.23; MDS–S: 7.52.

  • View in gallery

    Dry matter mass in watermelon aerial portions and roots (A), and in the entire watermelon plant (B), due to macronutrient omission compared with the controls (CS, complete solution) grown in the nutrient solution. Same letters in the bars indicate that the averages do not differ by Tukey’s test at a probability level of 5%. MSD (minimum significant difference)–shoot: 4.04; MSD–root: 0.65; MSD–whole plant: 4.59.

  • View in gallery

    Nutritional deficiency symptoms in watermelon related to lack of nitrogen (−N), phosphorus (−P), potassium (−K), magnesium (−Mg) and sulfur (−S) in old leaves and calcium (−Ca) in young leaves compared with plants grown in the complete nutrient solution (with no macronutrient deficiency).

Article References

BerryW.2016Symptoms of deficiency in essential minerals. In: L. Taiz and E. Zeiger (eds.). Plant physiology Online. 3 Oct. 2016. <http://6e.plantphys.net/topic05.01.html>.

BoussadiaO.SteppeK.ZgallaiH.BenS.HadjE.BrahamM.LemeurR.Van LabekeM.C.2010Effects of nitrogen deficiency on leaf photosynthesis, carbohydrate status and biomass production in two olive cultivars ‘Meski’ and ‘Koroneiki’Scientia Hort.123336342

CavalcanteV.S.PradoR.M.AlmeidaH.J.CruzF.J.R.SantosD.M.M.2015Gaseous exchanges, growth and foliar anatomy of sugarcane plants grown in potassium (K) deprived nutrient solutionAustral. J. Crop Sci.9577584

CakmakI.1994Activity of ascorbate-dependent H2O2-scavenging enzymes and eafchlorosis are enhanced in magnesium- and potassium-deficient leaves, but not in phosphorus-deficient leavesJ. Expt. Bot.4512591266

CastroA.C.R.D.WilladinoL.G.LogesV.CastroM.F.A.D.AragãoF.A.S.D.2015Macronutrients deficiency in Heliconia psittacorum x Heliconia spathocircinata ‘Golden Torch’Rev. Cienc. Agron.46258265

CechinI.FumisT.F.2004Effect of nitrogen supply on growth and photosynthesis of sunflower plants grown in the greenhousePlant Sci.16613791385

CharoensiriR.KongkachuichaiR.SuknicomS.SungpuagP.2009Beta-carotene, lycopene, and alpha-tocopherol contents of selected Thai fruitsFood Chem.113202207

ChieraJ.ThomasJ.RuftyT.2002Leaf initiation and development in soybean under phosphorus stressExp. Bot.53473481

CostaC.L.VergaraC.V.M.Cecílio FilhoA.B.SenoN.C.SenoN.C.2017Sintomas de defciências de macronutrientes em melancieiraComun. Sci.88092

FarhatN.RabhiM.KrolM.BarhoumiZ.IvanovA.G.McCarthyA.AbdellyC.SmaouiA.HünerN.P.A.2014Starch and sugar accumulation in Sulla carnosa leaves upon Mg2+ starvationActa Physiol. Plant.3621572165

GranseeA.FührsH.2013Magnesium mobility in soils as a challenge for soil and plant analysis, magnesium fertilization and root uptake under adverse growth conditionsPlant Soil368521

HarrisG.A.CampbellG.S.1989Automated quantification of roots using a simples image analyserAgron. J.81935938

HawkesfordM.HorstW.KicheyT.LambersH.SchjoerringJ.MøllerI.S.WhiteP.2012Functions of macronutrients: Potassium and magnesium p. 165–189. In: H. Marschner (ed.). Mineral nutrition of higher plants. Academic Press Amsterdam Netherlands

ImsandeJ.1998Iron, sulfur, and chlorophyll deficiencies: A need for an integrative approach in plant physiologyPhysiol. Plant.103139144

KavanovaM.LattanziF.A.GrimoldiA.A.SchnyderH.2006Phosphorus deficiency decreases cell division and elongation in grass leavesPlant Physiol.141766775

MaillardA.DiquélouS.BillardV.LaînéP.GarnicaM.PrudentM.Garcia-MinaJ.-M.YvinJ.-C.OurryA.2015Leaf mineral nutrient remobilization during leaf senescence and modulation by nutrient deficiencyFront. Plant Sci.6115

MiyazawaM.PavanM.A.MuraokaT.CarmoC.A.F.S.MeloW.J.2009Análise química de tecido vegetal p. 191–233. In: F.C. Silva (ed.). Manual de análises químicas de solos plantas e fertilizantes. Brasília BR

PradoR.M.2008Nutrição de plantas. Jaboticabal BR

RamalhoJ.C.RebeloM.C.SantosM.E.AntunesM.L.NunesM.A.1995Effects of calcium deficiency on coffea arabica. Nutrient changes and correlation of calcium levels with some photosynthetic parametersPlant Soil1728796

SchachtmanD.P.2015The Role of ethylene in plant responses to K+ deficiencyFront. Plant Sci.614

SchonhofI.BlankenburgD.MüllerS.KrumbeinA.2007Sulfur and nitrogen supply influence growth, product appearance, and glucosinolate concentration of broccoliJ. Plant Nutr. Soil Sci.1706572

SiddiqiM.Y.GlassA.D.1981Utilization index: A modified approach to the estimation and comparison of nutrient utilization efficiency in plantsJ. Plant Nutr.4289302

SilvaG.P.MelloP.R.ModaL.R.SilvaS.L.I.O.2016Growth, nutrient accumulation and nutritional efficiency of sunn hemp in function of nutrient omissionAfr. J. Agr. Res.11494499

StefanelliD.GoodwinI.JonesR.2010Minimal nitrogen and water use in horticulture: Effects on quality and content of selected nutrientsFood Res. Intl.4318331843

SwiaderJ.M.ChyanY.FreijiF.G.1994Genotypic differences in nitrate uptake and utilization efficiency in pumpkin hybrids 1J. Plant Nutr.1716871699

VanceC.P.Uhde-StoneC.AllanD.L.2003Phosphorus acquisition and use: Critical adaptations by plants for securing a nonrenewable resourceNew Phytol.157423447

ZhaoD.ReddyK.R.KakaniV.G.ReddyV.R.2005Nitrogen deficiency effects on plant growth, leaf photosynthesis, and hyperspectral reflectance properties of sorghumEur. J. Agron.22391403

Article Information

Google Scholar

Related Content

Article Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 119 119 119
Full Text Views 13 13 13
PDF Downloads 34 34 34