Agriside CropCare published an advertisement in the insert magazine “Agriculture – Livestock” of the company AgroTypos for the renowned product of Tytanit. Tytanit is produced by the innovative company Intermag based in Poland and is one of the multinational companies represented by Agriside. At the same time, the technical and sales manager of Agriside, Dr. Stylianos Katerinis examines Titanium and the multiple benefits it offers to crops.
The article :
Titanium: a versatile inorganic plant biostimulator
Dr. Stelios Katerinis,
Agriside cropcare Technical and Sales Manager
Titanium is a very useful element for crops whose importance in agriculture was realized only in the last 100 years. Its commercial preparations are currently used as biostimulants in crops, acting as a catalyst for normal processes, resulting in better plant growth and vitality, better acreage yields and improved production quality.
The chemical ellement
The chemical element Titanium (Titanium, Ti) is a durable low density metal, with atomic number 22, atomic weight 47.88 and melting temperature 1668 ° C. It is the 9th most abundant element on Earth and makes up about 0.6% w / w of its solid crust (Barksdale Jel. 1968). In nature it is not free (in its metallic form) but always connected to other elements and therefore it is necessary to extract it from its minerals that are widespread throughout the Earth. It is found in almost all rocks, soils, aquatic systems and living things. It was discovered in 1791 by a priest and amateur geologist, William Gregor, who in Cornwall, England, found in a stream of dark sand containing, among other compounds, an oxide that was titanium. He named the new Menachanite after the parish where he discovered it, but his local announcement was soon forgotten. Thus the name by which it is known today was given in 1795 by the German chemist and pharmacist Martin Heinrich Klaproth, who was inspired by the Titans of Greek mythology and who had isolated the same compound (TiO2) (Emsley J. 2001).
… and its multiple uses
Because Titanium (Ti) combines light weight and corrosion resistance, it is used in many everyday and high-tech products. It forms very durable and light alloys with several other metals which are now widely used in industry. It is not toxic to humans in low concentrations and in non-chronic exposure. Its widespread use in the chemical industry, in medical applications and in food but also many studies prove that it is biocompatible with humans and animals (Emsley J. 2001). Ti dioxide as a food additive has the code E171 and is a white powder which is used to give whitening and shine to many products. It was approved for use in food in 1966 provided that its concentration does not exceed 1% by weight of food. It is also an ingredient in some toothpastes to create friction and clean teeth, as well as in some chocolates to give them a soft texture and in other processed sweets, which are widely consumed but not recommended daily. In the human body it is found in the blood with an average content of 0.054 mg / liter, in the liver 1.2 – 4.7 ppm and in the muscles 0.9 – 2.2 ppm. A normal 70 kg person has about 20 mg of Ti in his body.
Ti has low mobility in the soil and limited presence in the soil solution so plants can absorb it to a limited extent with their roots, since it is present in a large percentage in water-insoluble forms: TiO2 or FeTiO3 (Dumon & Ernst, 1988, Bacilieri et. Al. 2017). In most plants Ti is present in very small concentrations: 0.1–10 ppm (parts per million) (Wait 1896), most commonly at 1-2 ppm, with the exception of a few species such as nettle and potted grass (horsetail, Equisetum spp. ) which contain up to 80 ppm (Emsley J. 2001). In fact, it has been found to have increased accumulation in aging leaves (Dumon J.C. & Ernst W.H.O. 1988).
The beneficial effect of Titanium on plants
As shown by numerous experimental studies, Ti in low concentrations is a multi-beneficial element for stimulating plant growth, increasing quantity and improving quality, while further studying the mechanisms of its effect on plant metabolism. However, it is not one of the critical nutrients for plants, as they can complete their biological cycle without Ti inputs, while there are no specific symptoms of deficiency (malnutrition). Lyu S., Wei X., Chen J., Wang C., Wang X. & Pan D. (2017) suggest Ti applications in crops to achieve leaf concentrations up to 15 mg per kg dry weight as suitable for enhancing growth and plant yield. On the other hand, they note the need to avoid exaggerations, since high concentrations of Ti in the leaves above 50 mg per kg of dry weight can cause toxicity with a negative impact on growth. They explain that the reason is that then its synergistic relationship with Fe becomes competitive. Thus Ti interferes with the biological role of Fe resulting in very high concentrations of chlorophyll and plant growth is reduced, a fact that was recorded in beans when the concentration of Ti in the leaves reached 202 mg per kg of dry weight. (Wallace et al., 1977)
The beneficial effect of Ti on plant growth had been observed since 1905 (Pellet & Friborg) and 1913 (Traetta-Mosca) and more systematically in 1923 (Nˇemec & Káš), but it took almost 80 years to appear on the market. Titanium and these to date are few. Many studies on different types of cultivated plants of almost all families carried out in the last 50 years have proven its multiple biostimulatory role in the growth, increase of biomass, productivity and production quality of many cultivated plants, to which it was administered and whose tissues were analyzed. Many researchers have reported that Ti inflow increased production from 5% to 50% in many crops (Pais, 1983; Balík et al., 1989; Carvajal & Alcaraz, 1998). Pais in 1983 summarized Ti application experiments carried out in Hungary from 1974 to 1983 on various crops, finding that more than 90% of these experiments showed an increase in production ranging from 10% to 22%. Many researchers have also reported that Ti application contributed to plant resistance to both abiotic and biotic stress (Lei et al., 2008; Leskó et al., 2002; Paret et al., 2013; Servin et al., 2015 , Norman & Chen, 2011, Owolade & Ogunleti, 2008, Chao & Choi, 2005). It is noted that inputs of biostimulants to crops such as sprays of small doses of Ti that help increase the efficiency of photosynthesis and therefore the yield of crops without increasing or reducing the input of fertilizers and especially nitrogen, contribute to the intended use of the most effective : NUE – Nitrogen Use Efficiency (Hawkesford, 2014).
Tei modes of action in plants and the corresponding benefits
The mechanisms of action of Ti in the plant are mainly based on its synergy with iron, its contribution to the better utilization of iron and magnesium plants and the improvement of calcium and potassium mobility and combined entail many direct and indirect benefits for plants from its administration. The fact that the stimulation of enzymatic activity by Ti involves iron-dependent (Fe) -dependent actions either directly (peroxidase, catalase) or indirectly (nitrate reductase) and that the synthesis of photosynthetic dyes also depend on Fe and its fact observed increase in Fe2 + content in cells after administration leads to the conclusion that these actions of Ti are related to its synergy with Fe (Carvajal & Alcaraz, 1998). Ti is thought to promote ferritin synthesis thus contributing to better storage and utilization by plants of Fe (Fe homeostasis). With the best utilization of Fe and Mg we have an increase of chlorophyll and intensification of photosynthesis, but also of the size and functionality of the leaves so we have better absorption of nutrients as well as their mobilization and especially of Ca resulting in better fertilization. Finally we have an improvement of the growth, vitality and endurance of the plants but also of the quantity and quality of production.
Ti administered in low concentrations, mainly foliar or root, has been shown to:
It promotes the biosynthesis of chlorophyll and photosynthesis mainly thanks to its interaction with iron (Fe). Specifically, Ti intervenes in the chemical redox process by acting as a catalyst (redox catalyst) and intensifies the transfer of electrons from Photosystem I to Photosystem II (Kiss et al. 1985, Leidi et al. 1991). That is, it interferes with the interaction of Ti4 + / Ti3 + with Fe3 + / Fe2 + (Caravajal et al. 1995). Thus e.g. when iron increases its electrical vigor from Fe 2+ to Fe 3+ Ti decreases it from Ti 4+ to Ti 3+ and vice versa thus ensuring balance. Therefore it contributes to the utilization of Fe and especially when it is not sufficient in plants (eg in alkaline soils) helping to make the green color of the leaves more intense.
It stimulates the action of several enzymes (catalase, peroxidase, lipoxygenase, phosphofructokinase, nitrate reductase, etc.) and therefore the best metabolism of plants including the metabolism of Nitrates. N-adequate plants respond very well to Ti administration and legumes provide better nitrogen fixation.
Improves the content of vitamin C in fruits.
Improves the content of pigments (anthocyanin, β-crotene, xanthophyll, etc.) and therefore the color of the fruits, but also the brightness of their color
Improves the size (Cigler et al. 2017) and the functionality of the leaves that breathe and the vessels and therefore the absorption of nutrients from the root: N, K, P, Ca, Mg, Fe ,, Zn & Mn as well and their mobility in plants and especially of Ca, K. The increased absorption of Nitrates is a result of the more intensive photosynthesis (nitrate photoassimilation, Searles & Bloom, 2003, nitrate transporter gens expression, Lyu et al. 2017) and if we have in parallel and their more intensive metabolism results in increased absorption of other nutrients: K, P, Mg, Ca (Scagel et al., 2008).
Improves the nutrition and fertilization of the flowers by achieving more fertile seeds in the carp, so this fruit requires better nutrition from the plant. Indeed, thanks to the improved mobility of calcium (Ca), it rises to the position of the flower so we have much more sticky substance that is also more moist. So much more pollen grains cling to it for a longer time. Calcium therefore allows better stigma susceptibility to adhesion of more pollen grains and better germination and growth of pollen tubes with parallel availability of boron (B) (Zheng et al. 2019; Steinhorst & Kudla 2013). Therefore, the fruiting improves and in the multi-seeded fruits we have fertilization of more fruit leaves, therefore more fertile seeds, a fact that implies better quality, size and weight of fruits.
Improves the nutrition, weight, size and quality of the fruits, but also their consistency, thanks to the combination of good photosynthesis, good number of fertile seeds and good absorption and mobility of nutrients.
Increases plant biomass and plant yield, thanks to the combination of stimulation of chlorophyll biosynthesis, enzyme activity, increased photosynthesis and nutrient absorption (Dumon & Ernst, 1988; Cigler et al., 2010).
Enhances the resistance of plants to abiotic and biotic stresses (fungal & bacteriological)
Increases seed germination and young plant growth after immersing the seeds in Ti solution.
From many experimental studies it was found that the application of Titanium:
In greenhouse tomato cultivation increased the absorption of K, N, P, Ca, Mg, Fe ,, Zn & Mn, the content of vitamin C and lycopene, the quality of the fruits and the production administered with the preparation Tytanit (Ti 0 , 7% + MgO 5% + SO3 10%) with a concentration of nutrient solution equivalent to an annual administration of Ti up to 960gr. per 10 acres (Kleiber & Markiewicz, 2013 & 2014), while spraying on pepper leaves increased the concentration of Fe and Ti (Carvajal et al., 1995). Foliar applications of Ti resulted in a 39% and 35.7% increase in Fe content in the peel and flesh of peaches (Alcaraz-Lopez et al., 2004). Application of Ti nanoparticle solution (75, 100mg / kg) to sandy lettuce soil increased phosphorus (P) uptake and plant growth (Hanif et al., 2015)
Increased chlorophyll concentration a and b and total chlorophyll in beans (Ram et al., 1983), wheat (Kovacik et al., 2014) and other plant species (Traetta-Mosca, 1913, Bottini, 1964, Pais et al., 1969, 1977). Improved photosynthesis efficiency and spinach growth (Lei et al., 2007). Three years of school experiments: Faculty of Agriculture and Life Science, University of Maribor, Slovenia, 2015 – 2017 in a vineyard with 2 spring sprays with the formulation Tytanit showed every year a significant increase in the chlorophyll content of the leaves. The leaf content of chlorophyll as well as the absorption of nutrients in wheat cultivation increased significantly after 2 foliar applications of Tytanit at a dose of 0.2 liters / 10 acres (Slovak Agricultural University in Nitra, Kováčik et al, 2014)
Stimulated the activity of the enzyme nitrate reductase in beans (Nautsch-Laufer, 1974) and in tomato lipoxygenase (Daood et al., 1988) and phosphofructokinase (Simon et al., 1988). In potato plantation, a positive correlation was observed between the activity of the enzymes dismutase peroxide and peroxidase and applications of Ti (Bacilieri F. S., Pereira de Vasconcelos A. C., Quintão Lana R. M., Mageste J. G., Torres J. L. R., 2017).
Increase the levels of vitamin C and total sugars in tomato fruits grown hydroponically on a rockwool substrate after administration of a nutrient solution containing Ti in a dose equivalent to an annual administration of 80g. per 10 acres (Kleiber and Markiewicz, 2013). The biosynthesis of vitamin C in pepper fruits was increased by the foliar administration of Ti (Martinez-Sanchez et al., 1993), as well as the vitamin C content of fruits of 6 varieties of strawberry and in fact in the 3 varieties increased the concentration of anthocyanins (pigments ) by foliar spraying of the Tytanit formulation at a concentration of 0.02% (Skupie´n & Oszmia´nski, 2007).
Increased concentrations of β-carotene and xanthophyll and 1.4 times the capsaicin content of hot red pepper administered in the form of Ti ascorbate (Biacs et al., 1997).
Improve the color, maturity and consistency when harvesting peaches and nectarines by spraying before harvesting a solution containing 0.042 millimolar (mM) Ti and 0.1 millimolar (mM) Ca or 0.103 millimolar (mM) Mg (Serran et al., 2004). Also spraying with Ti, or Ti + Mg and / or + Ca significantly increased the weight and consistency of peach fruits, while reducing the weight loss of the fruits during storage (Alcaraz-Lopez et al., 2004a, b). It also increased total soluble solids, consistency and fruit size sprayed before harvest on 3 varieties of raspberries (Rubus idaeus L.) (Grajkowski & Ochmian, 2007).
Reduced the oxidative stress of chloroplasts due to ultraviolet (UV-B) radiation in a spinach crop whose seeds were soaked in 0.25% solution of Ti nanoparticles (Lei et al., 2008). It also reduced the stress due to the presence of heavy metals in the wheat growing soil after application of 5mg / L Ti-ascorbate solution (Leskó et al., 2002). Foliar application of 0.01, 0.02 & 0.03% nanoparticle solution Ti increased wheat yield under drought stress conditions (Jaberzadeh et al., 2013)
Increased the germination of tomato seeds dipped in a solution of 100, 200, and 400mg / liter solution of Ti nanoparticles (Haghighi & Teixeira da Silva, 2014), but also onion (Haghighi & Teixeira da Silva, 2014) as well as its first growth root of young onion plants (Andersen et al., 2016). The same is true of cucumber and cabbage seeds (Andersen et al., 2016; Servin et al., 2012).
Increase bean dry matter by 20% after spraying 1mg / liter of water-soluble Ti (Ram et al., 1983). But also the dry matter of various apple tissues increased after application of Ti (Wojcik & Wojcik, 2001), as well as the acreage yield in apples (István et al., 1991). Also foliar application of Ti at a dose of 2 g / 10 acres improved the vigor of tree growth (Wojcik, 2002), while a 2-year experiment (2013 – 2014) in apples of the Topaz variety in Poland from the Agricultural University of Krakow with 2 foliar applications of Tytanit pre-flowering at a dose of 0.2 liters / 10 acres, showed that in both years the average weight and diameter of the fruits increased significantly as well as the acre yield of the trees.
Increase the marketable production of the ornamental Sparaxis tricolor Ker. Gawl by 7% (Marcinek & Hetman, 2008). Also annual application from soil 960gr. Ti per 10 acres increased the production of tomato fruits (Kleiber & Markiewicz, 2013). In pepper cultivation foliar spraying of Ti 2mg / liter at a dose of 35ml per plant increased biomass production (Lopez-Moreno et al., 1995). Foliar application of Ti 2 mg / liter to tomato increased its yield by 10.2% (Ram et al., 1983). Foliar application of 0.01 & 0.03% nanoparticle solution Ti increased corn yield (Morteza et al. 2013; Moaveni & Kheiri, 2011). In cabbage cultivation the acre yield increased by 15.7% on average by spraying foliar Ti chelate in a solution of concentration 2mg / liter, in peaches foliar application of solution chelate Ti concentration 1mg / liter increased the acre yield by 22.1%, while in cultivation foliar application of 5 mg / liter Ti chelate solution increased fruit weight by 11% to 25% (Pais, 1983).
A widely used titanium formulation that is often used as a reference formulation in global research is TYTANIT by the multinational Polish company INTERMAG sp zoo, which has 20 years of experience in the study and use of Titanium on all continents.
It is a special liquid preparation that has the patented technology aTIUM which ensures unique properties that make its use very effective, according to experiments in all crops but also with the global and Greek experience. The preparation contains Ti in a special organic molecule based on Ti-ascorbate and also contains Mg and S which are important secondary macronutrients for plants.
Its composition is as follows:
Ti 8,5 g/ λιτ (0,7%) + MgO 62 g/ λιτ (5%) + SO3 124 g/ λιτ (10%)
It has pH 4 and excellent mixability and compatibility with all agrochemicals. It is fully (100%) and instantly water soluble, immediately absorbable by the leaves and fully active with stability during storage. It is noted that formulations based on titanium dioxide do not have good storage stability, good solubility and good absorbency from the sheets.
It is recommended for 2-4 foliar applications throughout the biological cycle of cultivated plants at critical stages of growth and every 10-14 days or more starting from young stages and in view of stressful conditions, at a dose of 0.2 – 0.4 liters / 10 acres. It allows to achieve increased and quality production at low cost. According to relevant studies, the preparation is safe for bees, the environment and has no mutagenic effect on bacteria.
Past as well as recent experiments have shown the high efficacy of Tytanit. In a 2020 experiment conducted by the independent European experimental unit SC Eurofins Agroscience Services SRL in winter wheat in Romania, 2 foliar applications of Tytanit in development stages BBCH 31 and BBCH 56 at a dose of 0.2 liters / 10 acres resulted in 15.6 % increase in production compared to the untreated control and 10.9% increase in production compared to another biostimulator, as well as increased protein content by 22.9% compared to the untreated control and 9.75% compared to another biostimulator. In a similar experiment in sunflower, 2 foliar applications of Tytanit in the developmental stages of BBCH 17 and BBCH 53 at a dose of 0.2 liters / 10 acres resulted in a 13.7% increase in production compared to the non-spray control and 8.8% in relative to another biostimulator, as well as an increased oil content of 2.2% compared to the non-spray control and 1.7% relative to another biostimulator.