Degree Type

Creative Component

Semester of Graduation

Spring 2018



First Major Professor

Susana Goggi


Master of Agriculture (MAg)




Molybdenum (Mo) is required for the formation of five molybdoenzymes involved in plant growth and development. Once Mo is incorporated into molybdoenzymes, these enzymes can metabolize complex redox reactions, thus allowing plants to utilize nitrate, detoxify sulfites, create carbohydrates, and regulate hormone activity. The high pH and minimal organic matter content in soils from the Sonoran Desert of the southwestern US, increase Mo mobility and availability to crops. Consequently, Mo leaches from the root zone during irrigation. Mo deficiency symptoms are common in muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) desert production mid-way through the growing season. These symptoms often are incorrectly diagnosed as sodium toxicity or nitrate deficiency. If Mo deficiencies are prevented during the initial stages of seedling development, the seedling growth rate would increase, thus widening the planting window for muskmelons producers. After a series of six simple preliminary experiments, a finalized greenhouse experiment was conducted. Two different cultivars of muskmelons, Olympic Gold and Caravelle, were used to determine the Mo concentration required in a foliar application to increase plant growth and development. Four weeks after seeding, true leaf numbers, root length, shoot length, wet weights, dry weights, Mo, nitrate-nitrogen, total nitrogen, carbon, sulfur, zinc, calcium, sodium, and boron concentrations were evaluated. Analysis of variance and linear regression were used to analyze the data. It was concluded that weekly foliar applications of 8-mg/L Mo after germination for four weeks increased seedling growth, and that there was a positive correlation between Mo and sulfur, Mo and zinc, as well as Mo and boron. The addition of Mo can help farmers reduce input costs by increasing micronutrient uptake and widening the planting window of muskmelons by increasing growth rate.

Copyright Owner

Sheri McLane

File Format


Included in

Life Sciences Commons