Effects of Nutrient Antagonism and Synergism on Yield and Fertilizer Use Efficiency

Interaction among plant nutrients can yield antagonistic or synergistic outcomesthat influence nutrient use efficiency. To provide insight on this phenomenon,peer-reviewed articles were selected that quantified the interaction effects ofnutrients on crop yield levels. In total 94 articles were selected that described 117interactions between all macro- and micronutrients for different agriculturalcrops. In 43 cases the interaction was synergistic, in 17 cases the interactionwas antagonistic, and in 35 cases the interaction was zero-interaction; the other23 cases were non-significant (16) or showed a negative response (7). Generally:(a) when the availability of two nutrients is characterized as deficient, a largeincrease in yield can be expected by diminishing these deficiencies: (b) for mostmacronutrients the mutual interactions on yield levels are synergistic; and (c)antagonistic effects on yield are often found for divalent cations. Knowledge ofnutrient interactions can guide fertilizerdesign and optimization of fertilizationstrategies for high yields and high nutrient use efficiencies.
Antagonism, Fertilizers, Micronutrients, Macronutrients, Synergism