Nutraceutical properties of pecan kernels are affected by soil zinc fertilizer application

Yuqing Wang, Richard J. Heerema, James L. Walworth, Barry Dungan, Dawn VanLeeuwen, F. Omar Holguin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Pecan (Carya illinoinensis) has high kernel antioxidant activity and unsaturated fatty acid content, which contribute to its nutraceutical properties. In the western United States, where soils are typically alkaline, pecan trees require frequent zinc (Zn) fertilizer applications to maintain normal canopy growth and nut production. Our objective was to investigate the effects of tree Zn fertilization on nutraceutical properties of 'Wichita' and 'Western' pecan kernels. Trees were fertilized with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) chelated Zn, which was applied to the soil at one of three seasonal rates for a total of three treatments: 0 (control), 2.2, or 4.4 kg·haL1 Zn. Nut samples were collected and homogenized for analyses of kernel oil yield, hydrophilic antioxidant capacity, fatty acid profile, and g-tocopherol content. Although soil Zn treatments did not significantly affect antioxidant capacity of defatted pecan kernels, Zn application had significant positive effects on both total kernel oil yield and g-tocopherol content compared with the control. In conclusion, soil application of Zn fertilizer may increase the human health-promoting aspects of pecan kernels, a valuable attribute among health-conscious consumers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2001-2007
Number of pages7
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH)
  • Carya illinoinensis
  • Fatty acid methyl ester (FAME)
  • Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC)
  • Tocopherol
  • Zinc ethylenediaminetraacetic acid (Zn EDTA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture


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