Plant and Soil

, Volume 81, Issue 3, pp 333–344

Bicarbonate, the most important factor inducing iron chlorosis in vine grapes on calcareous soil


  • K. Mengel
    • Institute of Plant Nutrition Justus LiebigUniversity Giessen
  • M. Th. Breininger
    • Institute of Plant Nutrition Justus LiebigUniversity Giessen
  • W. Bübl
    • Institute of Plant Nutrition Justus LiebigUniversity Giessen

DOI: 10.1007/BF02323048

Cite this article as:
Mengel, K., Breininger, M.T. & Bübl, W. Plant Soil (1984) 81: 333. doi:10.1007/BF02323048


In pot experiments grape vine was grown on a calcareous and on a non calcareous soil with a low and with a high water saturation. During the growing period soil solution samples were collected and analyzed for their pH and for HCO 3 , phosphate, Fe, and Ca. High water saturation resulted in a pH increase and in an increase of the HCO 3 concentration in both soils. The level in pH and HCO 3 , however, was much higher in the calcareous soil than in the non calcareous soil. The Fe concentration varied much throughout the experimental period, but there was no major differences between soils and water saturation treatments. The Ca concentration of the soil solution increased with time in the calcareous soil; for the non calcareous soil rather the reverse was true. The phosphate level in the soil solution of the non calcareous soil was about 10 times higher than in the calcareous soil.

After 3 weeks growth all plants of the calcareous soil with the high water saturation showed first symptoms of Fe deficiency. These became more intense from day to day. Plants of the other treatments did not show any chlorotic symptoms. In the treatment with the chlorotic plants the HCO 3 concentration of the soil solution was the highest, the phosphate concentration the lowest from all treatments. It is therefore concluded that HCO 3 and not phosphate is the primary cause for lime induced Fe chlorosis. Despite the low phosphate concentration in the soil solution, the P concentration in the chlorotic leaves was more than twice as high as the P concentration in green leaves grown on the same soil. It is thus assumed that the high P content frequently found in chlorotic leaves is the result and not the cause for Fe chlorosis.

Key words

Bicarbonate Calcareous soils Fe-chlorosis Phosphate Vine

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff/Dr W. Junk Publishers 1984