Plant and Soil

, Volume 143, Issue 1, pp 141–144 | Cite as

Some properties of ferric citrate relevant to the iron nutrition of plants

  • H. Frits Bienfait
  • Marco R. Scheffers
Short Communication


Ferric citrate, the form in which iron is transported in dicotyledonous plants, diffuses slowly through cotton cellulose dialysis membranes, used to serve as a model for plant cell walls. KCl at m M concentrations stimulates diffusion.

Photoreduction of ferric citrate results in a rapid and nearly complete reduction of iron when the citrate concentration is low (50 μM) as in the xylem sap of plants growing on non-calcareous soils. In 1 m M citrate, as in the xylem sap of plants that activate their Fe-efficiency reactions, fast reoxidation prevents the buildup of high ferrous levels until after citrate has been largely broken down by photodestruction.

Photodestruction of citrate, catalyzed by iron, results in increase of pH in the solution and in the formation of a non-dialyzable form of iron, and thus can lead to deposition of ‘inactive’ iron in leaves.

Key words

chlorosis citrate iron lime 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Frits Bienfait
    • 1
  • Marco R. Scheffers
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyState University of UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.UtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.WageningenThe Netherlands

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