The Role Of Manganese In Plants – How To Fix Manganese Deficiencies

The Role Of Manganese In Plants – How To Fix Manganese Deficiencies

By: Susan Patterson, Master Gardener

The role of manganese in plants is important for healthy growth. Keep reading to learn more about how to fix manganese deficiencies to ensure the continual health of your plants.

What is Manganese?

Manganese is one of nine essential nutrients that plants require for growth. Many processes are dependent on this nutrient, including chloroplast formation, photosynthesis, nitrogen metabolism and synthesis of some enzymes.

This role of manganese in plants is extremely crucial. Deficiency, which is common in soils that have neutral to high pH or a substantial deal of organic matter, can cause serious problems with plants.

Manganese and Magnesium

It’s necessary to note the difference between magnesium and manganese, as some people tend to get them confused. While both magnesium and manganese are essential minerals, they have very different properties.

Magnesium is a part of the chlorophyll molecule. Plants that are lacking in magnesium will become pale green or yellow. A plant with a magnesium deficiency will show signs of yellowing first on the older leaves near the bottom of the plant.

Manganese is not a part of chlorophyll. The symptoms of manganese deficiency are remarkably similar to magnesium because manganese is involved in photosynthesis. Leaves become yellow and there is also interveinal chlorosis. However, manganese is less mobile in a plant than magnesium, so that the symptoms of deficiency appear first on young leaves.

It’s always best to get a sample to determine the exact cause of the symptoms. Other problems such as iron deficiency, nematodes, and herbicide injury may also cause leaves to yellow.

How to Fix Manganese Deficiencies

Once you’re sure that your plant has a manganese deficiency, there are a few things that can be done to fix the problem. A foliar feed fertilizer with manganese will help to alleviate the issue. This can also be applied to the soil. Manganese sulfate is readily available at most garden centers and works well for this. Be sure to dilute any chemical nutrients to half strength to avoid nutrient burn.

Generally, application rates for landscape plants are 1/3 to 2/3 cup (79 to 157 ml.) of manganese sulfate per 100 square feet (9 m²). The per-acre rate for applications is 1 to 2 pounds (454 gr.) of manganese sulfate. Prior to use, it may help to thoroughly water the area or plants so that the manganese can be absorbed more easily. Read and follow application guidelines carefully for best results.

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Nutrient is considered to be deficient whenever the plants lack sufficient amount of essential nutrient required for its growth. Without adequate nutrients plants growth will be suppressed and may even die out. As like in Newton’s 3rd law of motion “In every action there is equal and opposite reaction”, plants with nutrient deficiency also express severe symptoms which is described below in detailed:

Function of Manganese

The human body includes around 15 to 20 mg of manganese, which is primarily found in the bones, liver, kidney, pancreas, adrenal and pituitary glands. It helps the body kind connective tissue, blood clot aspects and sex hormones. It is works as a cofactor to anti-oxidants and is essential for the metabolic process of carbs, fat, amino acids and cholesterol. It plays a role in calcium absorption, blood sugar policy, bone health, injury recovery and correct brain and nerve function.

Antioxidant function

Manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) is the primary antioxidant enzyme in the mitochondria. Since mitochondria consume over 90% of the oxygen used by cells, they are specifically vulnerable to oxidative stress. The superoxide radical is among the reactive oxygen species produced in mitochondria during ATP synthesis. MnSOD catalyzes the conversion of superoxide radicals to hydrogen peroxide, which can be decreased to water by other antioxidant enzymes.

Metabolic process

A number of manganese-activated enzymes play essential functions in the metabolic process of carbohydrates, amino acids, and cholesterol. Pyruvate carboxylase, a manganese-containing enzyme, and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK), a manganese-activated enzyme, are crucial in gluconeogenesis– the production of glucose from non-carbohydrate precursors.

Arginase, another manganese-containing enzyme, is needed by the liver for the urea cycle, a procedure that cleanses ammonia produced during amino acid metabolism. In the brain, the manganese-activated enzyme, glutamine synthetase, transforms the amino acid glutamate to glutamine. Glutamate is an excitotoxic neurotransmitter and a precursor to a repressive neurotransmitter, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

Bone development

Manganese deficiency results in irregular skeletal development in a number of animal species. Manganese is the favored cofactor of enzymes called glycosyltransferases these enzymes are required for the synthesis of proteoglycans that are required for the formation of healthy cartilage and bone.

Injury recovery

Injury healing is an intricate process that requires increased production of collagen. Manganese is needed for the activation of prolidase, an enzyme that operates to offer the amino acid, proline, for collagen formation in human skin cells. A genetic disorder referred to as prolidase deficiency leads to irregular wound healing among other problems, and is identified by unusual manganese metabolism. Glycosaminoglycan synthesis, which needs manganese-activated glycosyltransferases, might also play an essential function in wound recovery.

Sufficient Intake Level

The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine developed a sufficient consumption level for manganese. These requirements differ by age and gender. Teenage kids ages 14 to 18 need 2.2 mg and teenage girls ages 14 to 18 require 1.6 mg of manganese each day.

Men over the age of 19 require 2.3 mg and women older than 19 require 1.8 mg of manganese each day. Pregnant women require 2.0 mg and breast-feeding women require 2.6 mg of manganese daily. Your dietary consumption of manganese and extra manganese must not surpass 10 mg each day due to the risk of nervous system side effects.

Manganese Deficiency

Although a number of Americans do not consume a sufficient quantity of manganese, a true shortage of this mineral is thought about uncommon. A shortage generally takes place just if manganese is removed from the diet. The most typical cause of low manganese levels is a poor dietary consumption.

Other elements include malabsorption, antacid or oral contraceptive use that hinder its absorption, extreme sweating because large quantities of manganese is lost in sweating, excess iron, copper or magnesium because they diminish manganese, and chronic liver or gallbladder disorders, which raise intake requirements.

Shortage Symptoms

Manganese is associated with several biochemical processes and can, for that reason, negatively impact a number of systems throughout the body. Low levels of manganese in the body can lead to impaired glucose tolerance, modified carb and fat metabolism, skeletal irregularities, bone demineralization and malformation, stunted growth, decreased serum cholesterol levels, skin rash and elevated blood calcium, phosphorus and alkaline phosphatase levels.

In addition, manganese shortages can result in infertility, seizures, weakness, queasiness or vomiting, dizziness, hearing loss, iron-deficiency anemia, weak hair and nails and convulsions, loss of sight or paralysis in babies.

Foods That Inhibit Manganese

Foods which contain phytic acid, such as beans, seeds, nuts, whole grains and soy products, or foods high in oxalic acid, such as cabbage, sweet potatoes, and cabbage, can moderately prevent manganese absorption. Cooking these foods might help neutralize this result. While tea is a good source of manganese, the tannins present in tea might somewhat reduce its absorption. Additionally, the intake of other minerals, including phosphorus, calcium and iron, has been discovered to restrict the body’s ability to retain manganese.


Manganese (chemical symbol Mn) deficiency occurs in a wide range of crops with onions, beetroot, parsnip, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato and pumpkin the most susceptible.

This deficiency is most common on alkaline soils (high pH), particularly if the irrigation water contains high levels of bicarbonate. It is found on soils of the Cottesloe and Karrakatta associations when high rates of phosphate fertiliser are used.

Manganese is needed for a number of plant functions including chlorophyll synthesis. It is a partially mobile element in the plant so symptoms may first appear in the youngest or oldest leaves.


In general, affected crops are pale green and growth is reduced. Specific symptoms may first appear on the youngest or oldest leaves and vary from species to species.

The most common symptom is for leaves to turn pale green between the veins, with normal coloured areas next to the veins. As the deficiency progresses, the area between the veins becomes paler, enlarges and may brown and die.

In cabbage, the interveinal chlorosis symptom is replaced by a general mottled yellowing of the leaves.

Beetroot shows triangular or spear-shaped leaves with the edges curled forward, as well as yellow mottling with small dead patches which give the leaf a typical speckled appearance. These symptoms are so distinctive in this species they are called ‘speckled yellows’.

In onions and sweetcorn, the interveinal chlorosis appears as yellow stripes on the leaves.

In tomatoes, the veins remain green, while the tissue between the veins becomes increasingly yellow as the deficiency becomes worse. This causes a net-like pattern to appear on the leaves.

Soil types

Manganese deficiencies are most often observed on well drained neutral or calcareous soils. However, other soils may cause manganese deficiencies, particularly as a result of heavy fertiliser usage. It can also be induced on these soils by heavy applications of lime.

In practice, manganese deficiency in vegetables does not occur on acid swamps except after they have been heavily limed, but is common on alkaline marl-based swamps. It is also common on sands containing limestone.


Manganese deficiency is controlled by using manganese sulphate (MnSO4 .7H2O) as a soil applicant or a foliage spray. Chelated forms of manganese can also be used as a foliar spray although this treatment is more expensive.

Soil application

Soluble manganese quickly reacts with the soil to produce less available forms. Application in a band minimises such reactions and is therefore more efficient. Rates can be lower than broadcast application.

For a broadcast application, apply 50kg/ha of manganese sulphate or 10 to 20kg/ha if applied in a furrow or band.

Sometimes it has been difficult to control manganese deficiency by soil applications, but good control has been obtained through foliage spraying.

Foliage spraying

Foliage spraying is usually the best way of correcting manganese deficiency as relatively low rates are as effective as high rates of soil application.

A 0.8% spray (8g/L) applied at 500L/ha supplies 4kg/ha manganese sulphate. Add a wetting agent for better leaf coverage. A second or third application may be needed.

The spray is most successful when plants are fairly young but good responses have been obtained when plants are more than halfway through their growing period.

Plant requirements

Deficiency symptoms in most species are associated with leaf levels less than 20mg/kg with particularly severe symptoms at less than 10mg/kg. Healthy plants normally contain 50 to 200mg/kg of manganese although levels up to 1500mg/kg have been recorded where fungicides containing manganese, such as Mancozeb®, have been applied.


The original version of this material was authored by M Hawson.

What are the benefits and effects of manganese?

Manganese is a trace mineral. It is vital for the human body, but people only need it in small amounts.

Manganese contributes to many bodily functions, including the metabolism of amino acids, cholesterol, glucose, and carbohydrates. It also plays a role in bone formation, blood clotting, and reducing inflammation.

The human body cannot produce manganese, but it can store it in the liver, pancreas, bones, kidneys, and brain. A person usually obtains manganese from their diet.

In this article, learn more about how manganese functions in the body, as well as where to find it.

The potential health benefits of manganese include:

Providing antioxidants

Share on Pinterest Small amounts of manganese are present in raw pineapple, pinto beans, and pecans.

Manganese helps form an antioxidant enzyme called superoxide dismutase (SOD). Antioxidants shield the body from free radicals, which are molecules that destroy or damage cells in the body.

The authors of a 2011 study found that SOD helps break down one of the more dangerous free radicals, called superoxide, into smaller components that are not harmful.

In laboratory and animal models, this process could reduce inflammation related to lung pleurisy, inflammatory bowel disease, and psoriasis.

More research is necessary to prove the benefits of these antioxidants in the human body, however.

Supporting bone health

Manganese may help promote strong, dense bones when combined with other nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D.

Although some earlier studies have suggested that manganese could make bones denser, more recent research has noted that calcium and vitamin D are the most significant promoters of good bone health.

Reducing blood sugar

For people with diabetes, manganese may help lower blood sugar levels.

The authors of a 2014 study that took place in South Korea found that people with diabetes had lower levels of manganese in their bodies. What is not clear, however, is whether this is a causal factor or a result of diabetes.

Another study , this time in mice, indicated that manganese helps the pancreas create insulin. Insulin is what the body uses to help regulate blood sugar.

Taking manganese supplements may help a person with diabetes produce more insulin naturally, but more research in humans is necessary to confirm these effects.

Healing wounds

Along with vitamin K, manganese aids the formation of blood clots. Blood clotting, which keeps the blood in a damaged blood vessel, is the first stage of wound healing.

So, having adequate levels of manganese in the body may help stop blood loss when a person has an open wound.

Small amounts of manganese are present in a variety of foods, including:

  • raw pineapple and pineapple juice
  • pinto beans
  • pecans
  • lima beans
  • spinach
  • navy beans
  • black and green teas
  • sweet potato
  • almonds
  • instant oatmeal
  • raisin bran
  • whole wheat bread
  • peanuts
  • brown rice

Infants can get manganese from breast milk and dairy or soy based formula.

Drinking water can also contain small amounts of manganese. However, too much manganese in the water supply can be toxic.

A person can take manganese supplements if their doctor believes that they have a deficiency.

There is no daily recommended intake of manganese, but the Adequate Intake (AI) is 2.3 milligrams (mg) per day for adult men and 1.8 mg per day for adult women.

People interested in taking manganese supplements can buy them from their local pharmacy or online. Manganese is also available in some multivitamins.

Typical forms available include:

  • manganese sulfate
  • manganese ascorbate
  • manganese gluconate
  • amino acid chelates of manganese
  • manganese ascorbate in bone or joint health supplements

However, people do not usually need to take supplements to reach their daily AI of manganese.

Manganese is highly unlikely to cause any side effects if a person is just getting it from dietary sources.

People taking manganese supplements should not take more than the recommended amount on the bottle. However, it would likely take years of overexposure for a person to experience any issues.

People should talk to their healthcare provider before taking manganese supplements. It is important to ask whether the manganese could interfere with their current medications or exacerbate an existing medical condition.

If a person experiences side effects from taking manganese supplements, they should stop taking them and speak to a doctor.

A manganese deficiency is rare but possible. If this occurs, a doctor will prescribe manganese supplements, or they may suggest taking manganese intravenously if absorption is an issue.

Signs of a potential manganese deficiency include:

  • reduced glucose tolerance
  • impaired growth
  • changes in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fat
  • skeletal or bone abnormalities
  • fertility problems

It is more likely that a person will experience manganese toxicity (overexposure) than have a manganese deficiency.

The most significant risk related to manganese is for people who work in an environment where they might inhale it.

Smelting and welding are two high risk activities for accidental manganese inhalation. Inhaled manganese is dangerous because the body transports the mineral directly to the brain without first processing it for proper use.

Over time, inhaled manganese can lead to a serious condition called manganism. Manganism is similar to Parkinson’s disease.

Symptoms of manganism include:

  • difficulty walking
  • muscle spasms in the face
  • tremors
  • irritability
  • aggressiveness
  • hallucinations
  • decreased lung function, a cough, or acute bronchitis

Although it is far less common, a person may experience similar symptoms if they have exposure to too much manganese in their water, food, or supplements. An average, healthy person does not need to worry about overexposure to manganese in their food or supplements.

However, some people have a higher risk of experiencing a toxic reaction to manganese, including:

  • newborns
  • children
  • people with liver conditions
  • people with iron deficiencies

People taking or considering taking manganese supplements should discuss their need for the supplement with their doctor first.

Manganese is a naturally occurring mineral that is present in some food groups. Although it is toxic at high levels, it has an important role in several bodily functions, including maintaining bone health and processing sugar.

Most people will get adequate amounts of manganese from their regular diet. However, some people with deficiencies may need to take manganese supplements.

People who work in occupations such as welding are at risk of developing health issues from long term exposure to inhaled manganese.

Anyone concerned about their manganese intake or exposure can talk to their doctor about testing and next steps.

Like other essential minerals, manganese improves your bone density and reduces your risk of osteoporosis. Manganese is also one of the most important nutrients for proper pancreas activity, and this organ produces the insulin you need to avoid developing diabetes. Plus, the antioxidant activity of manganese appears to improve your neural signalling, and this substance also helps your thyroid system operate effectively.

Thyroxine production: Manganese is essential to the production of thyroxine, which is one of the most important components of the thyroid system.

Antioxidant action: This essential mineral reduces levels of free radicals in your body and prevents oxidative stress.

Bone density functions: Manganese works with other essential minerals to prevent osteoporosis.

Insulin production stimulator: By aiding the proper operation of your pancreas, manganese improves your body’s ability to produce insulin.

Possible Manganese Concerns

In most cases, it is rare to consume too much manganese from the diet, and usually, people will get too much of it from supplementation. For instance, certain osteoarthritis supplements will include manganese in the form of glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate. As a result, an adult can exceed the daily manganese threshold or tolerable upper limit of 11 milligrams.

It is also a good idea to consult a doctor before taking manganese supplements for those with a history of anemia or alcoholism, people that have trouble flushing manganese from their system, and those with liver disease. In such cases, manganese can build up, which worsens the liver disease and causes dizziness, shaking, and mental problems. Also, people with anemia are likely to absorb higher manganese levels, and should be cautious of how much manganese they consume.

Another possible serious side effect of consuming more than 11 milligrams of manganese daily is neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease. Always follow dosage directions carefully when taking supplements with manganese. It is also a good idea to check your manganese level with a blood test before taking high doses of manganese.