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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 58 No. 1, p. 94-97
    Received: June 3, 1965

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Anatomical and Growth Responses of Primary Corn Roots to Several Fertilizers1

  1. A. R. Isensee,
  2. K. C. Berger and
  3. B. Esther Struckmeyer2



The effects of several fertilizer materials on the growth and anatomy of the primary root of corn were studied. The fertilizers consisted of N, P, and K in all possible combinations. They were applied at the rate of 30 pounds per acre on the elemental basis and were placed 1 and 2 inches below the seed.

Roots that contacted the fertilizers exhibited deformities and were shorter than untreated roots, producing an inverse relationship between percent deformity and root length. The most important factor was the fertilizer material. Ammonium nitrate, alone or in other salt combinations, caused the most deformity and shortest roots while P and K alone were least detrimental.

The swollen and deformed root tips from 5 treatments, namely N, P, K, N-P-K, and the control were selected for detailed anatomical study. All fertilizer salts caused enlargement and deformity of the root tips compared to the control. Most of the enlargement was the result of abnormal swelling (hypertrophy) of the cortical cells, the intensity of which varied from treatment to treatment. The N-P-K and the P fertilizers were most injurious, with the latter causing extensive cellular break-down and necrosis of the meristematic region.

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