Molybdenum deficiency

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General or mildly interveinal light green colour, and occasional clusters of pale necrotic spots on mature leaves (J. O'Sullivan).  

Diagnostic summary

  • What you see on plants

- symptoms similar to nitrogen deficiency: general pale colour and stunted growth.


- mature leaves may develop pale interveinal patches, progressing to discrete necrotic spots in some areas.


- alternatively, discrete interveinal patches may appear silvery as the top layer of the leaf becomes separated from lower layers.

  • Molybdenum is needed for processing nitrogen, taken up from the soil as nitrate, into plant components. Therefore molybdenum-deficient plants become nitrogen-deficient, but at the same time accumulate nitrate in their tissues.

  • Usually associated with acid soils.

  • Nitrate test paper can be used to check for high nitrate levels in the sap.

Characteristics and occurrence


Confusion with other symptoms

Diagnostic tests



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