Mineral Nutrients and Plant-Fungal Interaction in Cocoa Trees (Theobroma cacao L.)


J. Braz. Chem. Soc.




An infection of the fungus Moniliophthora perniciosa in cocoa trees reduces productivity of the plant. In this study, the concentrations of mineral nutrients in healthy leaves and in leaves of vegetative broom of the cocoa plant were determined, and the relationship between the disease and the nutritional composition of the leaves was assessed. The samples were analyzed using the wet digestion method and the concentrations were determined by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry and the Kjeldahl method. Results indicate that leaves of vegetative broom have lower concentrations of Ca, Mg, S, Fe, Mn, and Ni than healthy leaves. Concentrations of P and Cu were lower in healthy leaves and higher in leaves of vegetative broom. In contrast, concentrations of K, N, and Zn were the same for both types of leaves. In short, plant-fungal interaction was reflected in the nutritional composition of the leaves, demonstrated by the differences in nutrient concentrations between healthy and infected leaf tissue.

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