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Uptake and distribution of potassium in tomato plants


The uptake and distribution of potassium was examined in tomato plants, cv. Amberley Cross and Moneymaker, grown in peat/loam and given a nutrient feed either adequate or deficient in potassium.

Detailed studies were also made of the distribution of potassium in various parts of tomato plants, cv. Amberley Cross, grown in sand and supplied with nutrient feeds containing four and seven concentrations of potassium. In these plants the concentration of potassium in stem, petiole and laminar tissue increased from the base to the apex of plants, irrespective of the potassium concentration in the nutrient feed. There was also a gradient of decreasing potassium concentration along leaves, from proximal to distal laminae. The concentration of potassium in all plant parts increased with increasing nutrient supply of potassium, petioles showing a greater response to nutrient potassium than laminar tissue.

Marginal chlorosis and/or necrosis were observed when the potassium concentration in fully expanded leaves fell below 1.2 per cent of the dry weight for cv. Amberley Cross or 1.5 per cent for cv. Moneymaker. A 50 per cent incidence of chlorosis and/or necrosis occurred in leaf laminae containing 0.74 per cent potassium.

Leaves rarely showed deficiency symptoms when the concentration of potassium in the petioles was higher than that in adjacent laminar tissue. However, chlorosis and/or necrosis occurred when the potassium concentration in petioles fell below that in laminae. In the diagnosis of the potassium status of tomato plants, the most suitable tissue for sampling for potassium analysis is considered to be the petioles of young fully expanded leaves.

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Besford, R.T., Maw, G.A. Uptake and distribution of potassium in tomato plants. Plant Soil 41, 601–618 (1974).

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  • Potassium
  • Plant Physiology
  • Nutrient Supply
  • Plant Part
  • Tomato Plant