Towards the Bioavailability of Zinc in Agricultural Soils

  • Rashmi Baruah


The micronutrient availability in the rhizosphere soil is controlled by crop species, plant properties and interactions of roots with rhizospheric microorganisms and the surrounding bulk soils. Zinc (Zn) is an established micronutrient required for normal growth and functioning of plants. It is deficient in plants mostly not due to low Zn content of soil but to poor bioavailability. Approximately 50% of agricultural lands of India are deficient of Zn. The bioavailability of Zn in soil is also strongly influenced by the calcareousness of soil, i.e. with increase of pH, bioavailability of Zn decreases by many folds. Apart from soil pH, moisture content, soil temperature, root morphology, etc. also have visible effect on Zn bioavailability. Zinc is transported to root by diffusion, and this transport process is mostly enhanced by microbes present in the root rhizosphere. Plants exude a variety of organic and inorganic compounds as well as ions (protons, phosphate, etc.) to change the chemistry and biology of the rhizosphere, and this change becomes the driving force for micronutrient bioavailability. Zinc availability can be improved instantly by application of inorganic fertilizers or chelated Zn, but due to global awareness of soil health, the use of organic amendments or bioinoculants is gaining importance. Moreover, micronutrient-efficient crops and genotypes are also getting good response and becoming prevalent, but further research is needed. Our understanding of the physiological processes governing exudation and the soil-plant-microbe interactions in the rhizosphere is currently inadequate. In this chapter, focus was given on zinc, and the reason of poor bioavailability along with a comprehensively discussion of all possible strategies which can promote Zn availability to plants has been tried to be covered up.


Zinc Rhizosphere Exudation Bacteria Fungi Mycorrhiza 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rashmi Baruah
    • 1
  1. 1.Regional Agricultural Research StationAssam Agricultural UniversityJorhatIndia

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