Absorption of foliar-applied Zn fertilizers by trichomes in soybean and tomato Academic Article uri icon


  • The present study investigated the role of trichomes in absorption of foliar-applied zinc fertilizers in soybean and tomato. Using synchrotron-based X-ray fluorescence microscopy for in situ analyses of hydrated leaves, we found that upon foliar application of ZnSO4, Zn accumulated within 15 min in some non-glandular trichomes in soybean, but not in tomato. However, analyses of cross-sections of soybean leaves did not show any marked accumulation of Zn in tissues surrounding trichomes. Furthermore, when near-isogenic lines of soybean differing 10-fold in trichome density were used to compare Zn absorption, it was found that foliar Zn absorption was not related to trichome density. Therefore, it is suggested that trichomes are not part of the primary pathway through which foliar-applied Zn moves across the leaf surface in soybean and tomato. However, this does not preclude trichomes being important in other plant species, as they are known to be highly diverse. We also compared the absorption of Zn when supplied as either ZnSO4, nano-ZnO, or bulk-ZnO, and found that absorption from ZnSO4 was about 10-fold higher than from nano- and bulk-ZnO, suggesting that it was mainly absorbed as soluble Zn. This study improves our understanding of the absorption of foliar-applied nutrients.


  • Li, C
  • Wang, P
  • Lombi, E
  • Cheng, Miaomiao
  • Tang, Caixian
  • Howard, DL
  • Menzies, NW
  • Kopittke, PM

publication date

  • 2018