Manganese toxicity


What it does

Manganese toxicity affects the plants' metabolic processes such as enzyme activities and organic compounds. This can lead to sterility in plants.

Why and where it occurs

Mn toxicity is relatively rare especially in irrigated rice systems and rarely occurs in lowland rice. It can occur in the following soils:

  • acid upland soils (pH <5.5); Mn toxicity often occurs with Al toxicity
  • lowland soils containing large amounts of easily reducible Mn
  • acid sulfate soils
  • areas affected by Mn mining (e.g., Japan)

manganese-toxicityHow to identify

Check the plants for the following symptoms:

  • yellowish brown spots between leaf veins, extending to the whole interveinal area
  • brown spots on veins of lower leaf blades and leaf sheaths
  • leaf tips dry out eight weeks after planting
  • chlorosis of younger (upper) leaves
  • stunted plants
  • reduced tillering

Sterility results in reduced grain yield.

The chlorosis of younger or upper leaves is similar to those of Fe chlorosis. To confirm cause of problem, bring soil and plant sample to the laboratory for testing.

Why is it important

Mn toxicity damage is important throughout the growth cycle; however, this is not very common in rice.

How to manage

Mn toxicity is not very common in rice.

Where possible, the general management options for Mn toxicity are:

  • In a temperate climate, coat seeds with oxidants (e.g., Ca peroxide) to improve germination and seedling emergence by increasing the supply of O2.
  • Manage water efficiently. Mn absorption may be accelerated under conditions of surface drainage. 
  • Balance the use of fertilizers (NPK or NPK + lime) to avoid nutrient stress as a source of Mn toxicity. Apply sufficient K fertilizer. Apply lime on acid soils to reduce the concentration of active Mn. Do not apply excessive amounts of organic matter (manure, straw) on soils containing large concentrations of Mn and organic matter, and on poorly drained soils.
  • Recycle straw or ash to replenish Si and K removed from the field
Dobermann A, Fairhurst T. 2000. Rice: Nutrient disorders & nutrient management. Handbook series. Potash & Phosphate Institute (PPI), Potash & Phosphate Institute of Canada (PPIC) and International Rice Research Institute. 191 p.
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