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Ferrous Gluconate

I received the following today from Seachem in response to my
question  regarding ferrous gluconate,  which is used in their Flourish
and Flourish Iron fertilizers.

>>Christopher Coleman (christopher.coleman at worldnet_att.net) wrote:
>>    1) why should I use gluconate as a 'natural' chelator over
>>        EDTA.
>>    2) will ferrous gloconate work as well as an EDTA based
>>        chelator in a tank with plain gravel substrate?

>Gluconate actually "complexes" the iron vs the "chelation" found
>with EDTA. The distinction between a complex and chelate is that
>there is no formal bonding in a complex which means that the association
>is not as strong as that found in a chelate. The problem with EDTA
>is that it is too strong and the plants have a very difficult time
"cracking the
>nut" to get the iron out. Gluconate complexation is not as strong so it is
>easier for the plants to extract the needed iron. Both chelates and
>give an overall charge neutral species. The gluconate also (like EDTA)
helps to
>keep the iron in solution longer than if the iron were free. However
>gluconate is not as strong as EDTA with respect to iron association you
>see some precipitation with Flourish Iron when dosing the tank... however
>key here is that more of the iron in Flourish Iron will be utilized by the
>than will be utilized if EDTA-iron is used. The amount of EDTA-iron that
>plants are able to use is so small as to not really be useable. EDTA-iron
>look better to the consumer because it appears that after adding such a
>product to the tank the iron levels stay up for quite some time whereas
>with Flourish Iron the levels drop off more quickly (looks like the
>is more economical doesn't it?). However the Flourish Iron is being
utilized much
>more rapidly (and some of it is precipitating). I think the key here is to
see which
>product works best in your system. I'm confident that you would find that
>Iron gives the best response. A third advantage to the gluconate is that it
is a
>reducing agent and so helps to keep the Fe+2 from being oxidized Fe+3 (the
>product also contains other reducing agents to aid in this process as
well). It is
>also my understanding that EDTA iron is actually in the +3 oxidation state.
>Greg Morin

>Gregory Morin, Ph.D.  ~Research Director~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>Seachem Laboratories, Inc.      www.seachem.com     888-SEACHEM

As an aside, I recently inserted a potassium gluconate tablet consisting of
equivelent potassium in the root zone of a giant hygro I suspected of having
defficiency. Actually,  there are two gian hygros with more or less the same
of symptom.  Only one of them got the supplement.  I'll post result if it is