Olive-trees (Olea europaea L.) are the dominant rustic trees cultivated in the Mediterranean agricultural zones. Major and micronutrients play an indispensable role in their plant physiological functions although; the effect of trace elements on metabolic processes has not been sufficiently investigated, especially in olive-trees.
In the current study, we have used X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry to determine selected major and trace elements (Br, Cu, Fe, K, Mn, P, Rb and Zn) in the main olive cultivar cultivated in Algeria, cv.’Sigoise’. Certified reference materials viz. IAEA-336 (Lichen) and NIST-1646a (Estuarine sediment) were evaluated simultaneously with the soil and plant samples for quality control of the analytical method.
The results show that Fe and Mn concentrations were superior in leaves than fruits. However large amounts of K, Cu and Rb were accumulated in the olive-fruits. The contents of all chemical elements were above the threshold limits for possible plant nutrient deficiencies, except for P whose concentration was in borderline requirement of olive trees. High values of a translocation factor index were found for K, Cu and Rb (TFs > 4). Principal component analysis (PCA) indicated that K was highly related with olives-fruits, suggesting that the fruit was the principal organ of K storage. Furthermore, dietary element intake through consuming olives was also estimated and compared to recommended daily intakes (RDIs) and daily permissible limits (DPLs). The estimations of chemical element intakes were below the DPLs set by WHO/FAO guidelines for human nutrition.
The present work indicates that the concentrations of macro- and microelements (Cu, Fe, K, Mn and Zn) were above the threshold limits for possible plant deficiencies except for P, and this cultivar can easily accumulate high amount of K in their organs (predominance in olives). These findings will be used to achieve efficient fertilization for O. europaea orchards.
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