Written by: Ritesh Trivedi
Most people would associate high pure molybdenum compounds only with industries, however, they have an important role to play in the agriculture sector as well. Plants need molybdenum too and without them, a deficiency could lead to a poor harvest or nutrient deficient crops. Molybdenum is one of the essential micronutrients required by plants and even though it is required in a really small amount, without it, deficiency is a surety.
What is the function of molybdenum in plants?
Molybdenum is an essential component in the enzymes that will lead to the conversion of nitrate into nitrite (which is actually a toxic form of nitrogen) and eventually into ammonia, which is required by the plants to synthesise amino acids. These enzymes are:
· Xanthine dehydrogenase – required for the synthesis of uric acid from purines
· Nitrogenase – needed for the biological fixation of nitrogen by symbiotic and asymbiotic bacteria
· Nitrate reductase – essential for the reduction of nitrate, and incorporation of nitrate-N in the proteins
When there is a lack of moly, none of these reactions are able to take place effectively, and this leads to deficiency in the crops.
What does molybdenum deficiency look like and lead to?
Because molybdenum is so closely linked to nitrogen in the plants, the deficiency can look similar to nitrogen deficiency. Since molybdenum is the only micronutrient that can travel inside the plant, the deficiency indications tend to show more commonly in the middle and older leaves. However, since it can travel, the deficiency too can move up the stem, affecting new leaves and even the fruits. In cases where the deficiency is severe, there can be thinning of the leaf margins and eventual necrosis. Some of the most common symptoms of deficiency of molybdenum in plants and soils include:
· Paling of leaves with yellowing on the margins and centres
· Misshaped leaves
· Premature germination
· Decreased tasselling in crops such as maize
· In cauliflowers, the deficiency is known as the whiptail disorder
· In legumes, the blockage of nitrogen fixation could lead to pale, yellow plants
· Legumes might have lesser number of root nodules
The crops that are most susceptible to molybdenum deficiency include cruciferous plants such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, legumes such as peas and beans, poinsettias and flowers of the primula genus.
If crops are constantly provided with nitrate fertilisers, there is bound to be a molybdenum deficiency, because the nitrate will be unable to convert into ammonia. When the growing medium pH decreases, the natural availability of molybdenum starts to decrease too.
** Molybdenum toxicity – Although this is a rare occurrence, molybdenum toxicity can be present in a crop, without showing any obvious symptoms. If there is a golden yellow colouring on the leaves, it could be a chance of molybdenum toxicity. Animals that eat such plants could have a condition known as molybdenosis, in which there could be a copper deficiency.
What is the best way to tackle molybdenum deficiency in plants?
The easiest and simplest way to tackle molybdenum deficiency in plants is by using a fertiliser that is rich in moly. Generally, molybdenum comes in the form of water soluble fertilisers, which are usually released under some manner of control. Molybdenum based Sodium Molybdate/Ammonium Molybdate compounds, in tracer concentration (ppm) levels, are dissolved in water and sprayed on the plants. This enables healthy plant growth and a high crop yield. Farms tend to use either a comprehensive micronutrient fertiliser or a molybdenum specific fertiliser such as sodium molybdate or ammonium molybdate. Moreover, only a small amount of the molybdenum fertiliser is required to rectify the issue.
What role does Rubamin play in the agriculture sector?
Rubamin has, for a long time, been producing high quality and high purity molybdenum and molybdenum compounds for the agricultural sector. As a matter of fact, for over a decade now, Rubamin has been one of the largest and most reliable manufacturers of high grade molybdenum salts. The warehouses in Halol, Gujarat, India are always well stocked with Sodium Molybdate (SMD) and Ammonium Molybdate (AHM), which are the two most commonly used molybdenum fertilisers.
· Sodium molybdate – A free flowing soluble fertilizers, sodium molybdate is used to supplement molybdenum in crops and ensure there is no deficiency. Required only in very small quantities, Rubamin offers high grade sodium molybdate for foliar as well as fertigation applications in the agriculture industry. Not only does it supply the trace element in an effective manner to the crops, this sodium molybdate is ideal for acidic soils and can help convert the nitrate present in leaves into amino acids and proteins, enabling far better growth. Sodium molybdate is ideal for brassica and cruciferous crops, legumes, cucurbits and several other crops.
· Ammonium molybdate – Like sodium molybdate, ammonium molybdate too is a water soluble fertiliser and ammonium molybdate allows for the enhanced intake of nitrogen. A small amount when combined with water can create sufficient fertiliser for a large farm area. Ammonium molybdate can provide the essential micronutrients that are required to drive plant functions, both in terms of efficiency and efficacy. Rubamin’s ammonium molybdate can be used on a range of crops including soya, wheat and a range of other plants that need molybdenum.
In order to meet the superior quality and high water solubility molybdates for the use in the agriculture sector, Rubamin’s sodium molybdate/ammonium molybdate salt solutions are always clear. This is also possible due to the very low levels of impurities in the molybdates. The sodium molybdate and ammonium molybdate salts are also high pure because of the advanced purification technology that has been developed in-house and commercialized in processing molybdenum source raw materials. With the constant backing of the strong in-house research and development team of chemists and engineers, Rubamin aims at continuing offering high pure molybdenum based fertilisers, to allow higher yields and healthier crops.