Plant and Soil

, Volume 434, Issue 1–2, pp 151–165 | Cite as

Mineral element composition of cabbage as affected by soil type and phosphorus and zinc fertilisation

  • Paula PongracEmail author
  • James W. McNicol
  • Allan Lilly
  • Jacqueline A. Thompson
  • Gladys Wright
  • Stephen Hillier
  • Philip J. White
Regular Article


Background and aims

The effects of phosphorus and zinc applications on phosphorus and zinc concentrations in plants grown in different soil types have rarely been investigated. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of different soil types and phosphorus and zinc addition on growth and mineral element composition of red cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata L. cv. Red Drumhead).


Plants were grown for six weeks in three different soils (a freely drained Cambisol, an imperfectly drained Cambisol, and a Stagnosol) in a glasshouse. Each soil was amended with one of 25 combinations of phosphorus and zinc fertiliser. Soil characteristics, growth, and mineral element concentrations in shoots were assessed.


Soil type significantly affected shoot growth and concentrations of phosphorus, zinc, potassium, calcium, magnesium and manganese, but not iron concentration of red cabbage. Across soils, the observed responses were attributed to soil phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sulphur concentrations, organic matter content, and mineral composition, mainly kaolinite and plagioclase.


Soil type effects on mineral element composition of red cabbage could have important implications for increasing mineral element concentration in crops to alleviate mineral element deficiencies in human diets.


Uptake Mineral element interaction Brassica oleracea var. capitata Fertiliser Glasshouse 



This work was supported by the Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division of the Scottish Government and an EU Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship (REA grant agreement n°623305) to Paula Pongrac, who also acknowledges financial support from the Slovenian Research Agency (P1-0212 programme) and Public Scholarship, Development, Disability and Maintenance Fund of the Republic of Slovenia. Authors are grateful to Ralph Wilson, John Rattray and Konrad Neugebauer for their help with collecting the soil and to Lawrie Brown for her help with Olsen P measurements. We thank Timothy S. George for reading the original manuscript.

Supplementary material

11104_2018_3628_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.7 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 1779 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The James Hutton InstituteDundeeUK
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Biotechnical FacultyUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  3. 3.Biomathematics and Statistics ScotlandDundeeUK
  4. 4.The James Hutton InstituteAberdeenUK
  5. 5.Department of Soil and EnvironmentSwedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)UppsalaSweden
  6. 6.Distinguished Scientist Fellowship ProgramKing Saud UniversityRiyadhKingdom of Saudi Arabia

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