Fate of DTPA, EDTA, and EDDS in hydroponic media and effects on plant mineral nutrition

Timothy M. Vadas, Xinning Zhang, Ashley M. Curran, Beth A. Ahner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Synthetic chelators are commonly used in hydroponic media to solubilize iron (Fe); however, the fate of these chelators is unknown. This study examined the persistence of three synthetic chelators, ethylenediaminetetraacetate (EDTA), diethylenetriaminepentaacetate (DTPA), and ethylenediaminedisuccinate (EDDS) in a bench-scale lettuce production system. The EDDS concentration decreased rapidly within 7d, most likely due to biodegradation. The EDTA and DTPA concentrations stayed steady throughout the experiments despite additions to maintain a constant volume and loss of chelator may have been due to either plant uptake or photodegradation of the chelator. Despite large differences in solution chemistry, the final shoot concentrations of iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), and zinc (Zn) were similar among chelator treatments, whereas root concentrations of these same elements were highly variable. The concentration of DTPA in a commercial lettuce production system was measured and highly variable concentrations were found.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1229-1246
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Plant Nutrition
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


  • Chelator
  • DTPA
  • EDDS
  • EDTA
  • Hydroponics
  • Lettuce
  • Nutrient solutions


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