Chelated micronutrients play an important role in the complex world of agriculture, where crops' health is continuously threatened by erratic environmental factors and ominous pathogens. Even though they are frequently overlooked by larger factors like water, sunlight, and macronutrients, these micronutrients are crucial to the resilience and health of crops.

This blog aims to explore the amazing function of chelated micronutrients in reducing abiotic stressors and enhancing crop defenses against pathogens. We'll delve into the science and practical applications that make these micronutrients a crucial part of contemporary agriculture, from comprehending what chelation means to look at how these minerals serve as a weapon for plants. Now let's explore how these little but formidable allies are having a significant impact on the fields.

What is chelated form of micronutrients?

Essential trace elements including iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), Nickel (Ni), and cobalt (Co) are chelated micronutrients because they are bound to chelators, which are organic molecules. Typically, these chelators are organic substances like organic acids or amino acids. Common chelating agents include ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), Ethylene diamine succinic acid (EDDS), HEDTA (N-hydroxyethyl ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), Oxalic Acid, Citric Acid, and diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA). In order to keep the micronutrient from becoming insoluble or chemically inaccessible in the soil, chelation is a chemical process that creates a stable, soluble combination between the micronutrient and the chelating agent.

It's crucial to remember that based on the particular micronutrient, crop, and soil conditions, the choice of chelating agent and application technique can change. To assess whether chelated micronutrient supplementation is necessary and to optimize the application technique, farmers and agronomists frequently analyze the soil and examine plant tissue samples.

Chelated micronutrients are important for the reduction of abiotic stress in plants. Abiotic stressors, which include elements like drought, salt, heavy metal toxicity, and nutrient inadequacy, are non-living environmental variables that can adversely affect plant growth and development. 

What is the role of Micronutrients in providing abiotic stress tolerance?  

Enhanced Uptake of Nutrients: Chelation is the process of joining organic molecules with micronutrients (such as iron, zinc, manganese, and copper) to create stable complexes. By improving their solubility and bioavailability, these nutrients are more readily absorbed by plants from the soil. Plants' capacity to absorb nutrients from the soil may be hampered by abiotic stress. Chelated micronutrients ensure that the plant has easy access to vital nutrients even under trying circumstances.

Enzyme Activation: Micronutrients serve as cofactors for numerous enzymes involved in stress response and tolerance mechanisms. When ingested by plants, chelated micronutrients can activate these enzymes. For instance, zinc is a cofactor for various stress-related enzymes, and iron is necessary for the synthesis of chlorophyll. These enzymes work efficiently when the micronutrient supply is adequate, which enables plants to cope with stress better.

Antioxidant defense: Under conditions of abiotic stress, reactive oxygen species (ROS) frequently build up in plant cells, resulting in oxidative damage. Chelated micronutrients like copper and manganese are essential parts of antioxidant enzymes like catalase and superoxide dismutase (SOD). By scavenging ROS, these enzymes lessen oxidative stress and minimize cellular damage.

Hormone Control: Iron in particular has a crucial role in controlling the levels of plant hormones. The plant reacts to abiotic stress using chemicals like abscisic acid (ABA). Chelated iron can affect ABA production and transport, moderating stress reactions and assisting plants in coping with challenging circumstances.

Support for Structure: Boron is an important micronutrient for creating and maintaining cell walls. Maintaining cell wall integrity becomes crucial under conditions of stress, such as salt or drought. Chelated boron and other minerals fortify cell walls, improving the plant's capacity to endure fluctuations in turgor pressure brought on by stress.

Osmotic Regulation: By preserving cell turgor pressure, several chelated micronutrients, such as potassium, aid in osmotic regulation. This is crucial during drought stress because healthy turgor pressure is necessary for plant and cell structure.

Root development: Chelated micronutrients can also aid in the growth of healthy roots. The plant is more resistant to abiotic stressors like drought when its roots are strong and well-developed because they are better suited to search the soil for water and nutrients.

By enhancing nutrient uptake, activating enzymes, minimizing oxidative damage, controlling hormones, offering structural support, assisting in osmotic management, and encouraging root development, chelated micronutrients play a critical role in lowering abiotic stress in plants. These advantages support plants' ability to resist diverse environmental stresses and continue to grow and produce under difficult circumstances.

Chelated micronutrients are essential for boosting plant health and resilience, which in turn helps control disease in crops. Chelated micronutrients help manage diseases in agriculture in the following ways:

Enhanced Uptake of Nutrients:  In comparison to non-chelated versions, chelated micronutrients are more easily available to and absorbed by plants. Crops are better able to tolerate and recover from diseases because of this improved nutrient uptake, which also improves the health and vigor of the plants as a whole.

Enhancing Plant Immunity: Chelated micronutrients are necessary for the activation of numerous enzymes and proteins involved in plant defense mechanisms, especially elements like zinc, copper, and iron. Plants can develop phytochemicals and secondary metabolites that aid in disease resistance when their micronutrient levels are adequate.

Reduced Stress Susceptibility: Crops that get an even distribution of chelated micronutrients are less vulnerable to environmental stresses like heat, drought, and nutrient imbalances. Healthier, more resilient plants are better able to fend off viruses since stress can weaken plants and make them more prone to diseases.

Improved Root Development: Chelated micronutrients can promote better root growth, which enhances the plant's capacity to take up water and nutrients from the soil. Plants with robust, well-developed roots are better able to fend off illnesses that target the root system.

Control over Disease-Producing Organisms:  Certain plant pathogens, such as fungi and bacteria, can be directly inhibited from growing and reproducing by some micronutrients, such as copper. Fungicides with a copper base are frequently used to manage crop diseases.

IPM (Integrated Pest Management) compatibility: Chelated micronutrients can be used in IPM techniques, which place an emphasis on a comprehensive approach to disease and pest control. Micronutrients can be used in IPM strategies to support plant health and lessen the need for chemical pesticides.

Suppression of Disease through Competitive Exclusion: By encouraging the growth of advantageous microorganisms in the soil, which can outcompete and limit the growth of disease-causing organisms, chelated micronutrients can indirectly aid in the control of diseases.

Chelated micronutrients can be very helpful in the management of diseases; however, they should be used in conjunction with other techniques such as crop rotation, cleanliness, insect scouting, and the prudent use of pesticides when required. In order to guarantee that crops receive the ideal balance of micronutrients to maintain their health and resilience to diseases, effective soil testing and nutrient management measures are crucial.

In conclusion, the importance of micronutrients in the constantly changing world of agriculture cannot be understated. These crucial trace elements, such as iron, zinc, manganese, and copper, are necessary for the health and productivity of plants. Making sure plants have access to these micronutrients becomes even more important in the face of abiotic challenges including disease threat, salinity, and nutritional imbalance. Chelated micronutrients are essential components of contemporary agriculture. They give farmers the ability to defend their crops against abiotic stressors and pathogens, resulting in healthier plants and higher harvests. Utilizing the strength of chelated micronutrients will continue to be a crucial tactic in the goal of robust and sustainable crop production as agriculture develops.