Zinc fertilization effects on seed cadmium accumulation in oilseed and grain crops grown on North Dakota soils.

Gonzalo Rojas-Cifuentes1*, Burton Johnson1, Marisol Berti1, Wendell Norbell2

The Cd concentration in the seed of crops depends on various soil factors including parent material, texture, pH, soil redox, and salinity. Cadmium accumulation also varies among crop species and cultivars within a species. Cadmium and Zn may have either an antagonistic or a synergistic effect on plant uptake that can be influenced by the soil Cd and Zn concentrations. The objective was to determine the effect of Zn fertilizer additions on the seed Cd of nine crops commonly grown in North Dakota, USA. Studies were conducted at five North Dakota locations representing different soil series during 1994 and 1995. In Experiment 1, nine crops common in North Dakota were grown with and without the addition of 25 kg ha-1 Zn fertilizer. Among crops evaluated, the greatest seed Cd accumulation occurred in flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) followed by sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.), soybean (Glycine max [L.] Merr.), and durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L. var. durum). In Experiment 2, two durum wheats and one flax cultivar were grown under three Zn treatments of 0, 5, and 25 kg ha-1. In Experiment again flax had the higher seed Cd level compared with the two durum varieties. Based on the results from both studies, addition of Zn fertilizer did not consistently reduce seed Cd content, and even when statistically significant, the level of reduction was small and not likely to impact marketability of Cd accumulating crops such as flax, sunflower, soybean, and durum.

Keywords: Soil series, seed, uptake, nutrients, contamination, Linum usitatissimum, Triticum turgidum.
1North Dakota State University, Department of Plant Sciences. P.O. Box 6050, Fargo, North Dakota 58108-6050, USA. *Corresponding author (gonzalo.rojas@ndsu.edu).
2USDA/ARS Plant, Soil, and Nutrition Laboratory, Ithaca, New York, USA.