MINERAL NUTRITION IN PLANTS
In plants, the source of inorganic requirements are minerals obtained directly or indirectly from the soil.
These elements are known as mineral nutrients, and the nutrition is called mineral nutrition. Nitrogen is also included in the mineral nutrients because it is obtained by the plant from soil whereas it is not a mineral element.
Analysis of plant shows the presence of a vast number of minerals. The amount and number of minerals present in the plant may also differ from plant to plant, place to place and medium in which the plant grows. Minerals which are required in large quantity are called Macronutrients, and minerals which are needed in less quantity are called Micronutrients.
ROLE OF SOME ESSENTIAL MINERAL NUTRIENTS
It is found in the soil in the form of nitrates or ammonium salts. It is an important constituent of protein, nucleotides, nucleic acids, and many other organic molecules like chlorophyll, so the biosynthesis of these molecules require nitrogen.
Plants absorb phosphorous in the form of soluble phosphorous such as H3PO3 and HPO4. It is present abundantly in the growing and storage organs such as fruits and seeds. It promotes healthy root growth and fruit ripening by helping translocation of carbohydrates.
It is an essential element involved in the formation of the cell membrane as phospholipids, nucleic acid, coenzyme(NAD and NADP) and organic molecules such as ATP and other phosphorylated products. It plays a significant role in the energy transfer reaction oxidation-reduction processes.
Potassium is widely distributed in soil minerals. It is firmly fixed in soil, therefore, found in the less available form. Exchangeable potassium appears to be readily available to plants.
The best-known function of potassium is its role in stomatal opening and closing. It is found in highest concentration in the meristematic region of the plant. It is an essential activator for enzymes involved in the synthesis of certain peptide bonds and carbohydrate metabolism.
Magnesium is present in the soil in water-soluble, exchangeable, and fixed form and is present in primary minerals. It is found as carbonates similar to that of calcium and held in the soil as an interchangeable base.
It is a constitute of chlorophyll and therefore essential for the formation of green pigments. It acts as the phosphorous carrier in plants, especially in connection with the production of seeds of high oil contents which bear compound lecithin. It is readily mobile, and when its deficiency occurs, it is apparently transferred from older to the young tissue where it can be realized in the growth process.
Magnesium is also essential for the synthesis of fats and metabolisms of carbohydrates and phosphorous.
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