Friday, December 19, 2014
ABOUT / Contents & Nutrients

Contents & Nutrients

Just like humans, plants also need to eat, drink, breathe, grow and get attention and love. To grow healthy, plants need essential nutrients. There are 3 most important elements which is known as Non-Mineral Nutrients and 17 Mineral Nutrients elements that are known to be important to a plant's growth and survival.

These nutrients are essential for plant growth. Plants will grow normally until they run short of one nutrient. Then growth is limited by the availability of that nutrient. Occasionally two or more nutrients will run short at the same time. If the nutrients are deficient, or too abundant, then plants will be discolored or deformed. Deficiency symptoms indicate which nutrient or nutrients are needed, although the symptoms vary from one plant to another. It is much better to supply additional nutrients before deficiency symptoms appear. A soil test or leaf analysis will tell which nutrients are low before growth is affected.

Non-Mineral Nutrients

The Non-Mineral Nutrients are Hydrogen (H), Oxygen (O), & Carbon (C).
These nutrients are found in the air and water. In a process called photosynthesis, plants use energy from the sun to change carbon dioxide (CO2 - carbon and oxygen) and water (H2O- hydrogen and oxygen) into starches and sugars. These starches and sugars are the plant's food.

Since plants get carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen from the air and water, there is little farmers and gardeners can do to control how much of these nutrients a plant can use.

Mineral Nutrients

The 17 mineral nutrients, which come from the soil, are dissolved in water and absorbed through a plant's roots. There are not always enough of these nutrients in the soil for a plant to grow healthy. This is why many farmers and gardeners use fertilizers to add the nutrients to the soil. The mineral nutrients are divided into two groups: macronutrients and micronutrients.

Macronutrients

Macronutrients can be broken into two more groups:

Primary Macronutrients

Nitrogen (N)

  • Nitrogen is a part of all living cells and is a necessary part of all proteins, enzymes and metabolic processes involved in the synthesis and transfer of energy.
  • Nitrogen is a part of chlorophyll, the green pigment of the plant that is responsible for photosynthesis. 
  • Helps plants with rapid growth, increasing seed and fruit production and improving the quality of leaf and forage crops. 
  • Nitrogen often comes from fertilizer application and from the air (legumes get their N from the atmosphere, water or rainfall contributes very little nitrogen)

Nitrogen Deficiencies
Reduced growth, yellowing (chlorosis), reds and purples may intensify with some plants, reduced lateral breaks.

Phosphorus (P)

  • Like nitrogen, phosphorus (P) is an essential part of the process of photosynthesis. 
  • Involved in the formation of all oils, sugars, starches, etc.
  • Helps with the transformation of solar energy into chemical energy; proper plant maturation; withstanding stress.
  • Effects rapid growth.
  • Encourages blooming and root growth.
  • Phosphorus often comes from fertilizer, bone meal, and superphosphate. 

Phosphorus Deficiencies
Reduced growth, color may intensify, foliage turning brown or purple in some plants; thin stems, loss of lower leaves, reduced flowering.

Potassium (K)

  • Potassium is absorbed by plants in larger amounts than any other mineral element except nitrogen and, in some cases, calcium. 
  • Helps in the building of protein, photosynthesis, fruit quality and reduction of diseases.
  • Potassium is supplied to plants by soil minerals, organic materials, and fertilizer.

Potassium Deficiencies
Reduced growth, shortened internodes, marginal burn or brown leaf edges, dead spots in the leaf, reduction of lateral breaks, and tendency to wilt readily.

end faq

 

Secondary & Tertiary Macronutrients

Calcium (Ca)

  • Calcium, an essential part of plant cell wall structure, provides for normal transport and retention of other elements as well as strength in the plant. It is also thought to counteract the effect of alkali salts and organic acids within a plant. 
  • Sources of calcium are dolomitic lime, gypsum, and superphosphate.

Calcium Deficiencies
Inhibition of bud growth, death of root tips, cupping of mature leaves, weak growth.

Magnesium (Mg)

  • Magnesium is part of the chlorophyll in all green plants and essential for photosynthesis. It also helps activate many plant enzymes needed for growth.
  • Soil minerals, organic material, fertilizers, and dolomitic limestone are sources of magnesium for plants.

Magnesium Deficiencies
Reduction in growth; yellowing between veins, also can occur with middle or lower leaves; reduction in seed production.

Sulfur (S)

  • Essential plant food for production of protein.
  • Promotes activity and development of enzymes and vitamins.
  • Helps in chlorophyll formation.
  • Improves root growth and seed production.
  • Helps with vigorous plant growth and resistance to cold.
  • Sulfur may be supplied to the soil from rainwater. It is also added in some fertilizers as an impurity, especially the lower grade fertilizers. The use of gypsum also increases soil sulfur levels. 

Sulfur Deficiencies
Symptoms are a general yellowing of the affected leaves of the entire plant.

Silicon (Si)

  • Silicon affects the absorption and translocation of several macro- and micronutrients.
  • Contributes to the strength and thickness of cell walls, helping to keep plants erect and resisting attacks by fungi and insects.
  • Silicon also plays some role in helping the plant survive adverse conditions such as high salinity or toxic levels of manganese, iron, phosphorous and aluminum.

Silicon Deficiencies
Silicon-deprived plants grown in experimental solutions are in many ways structurally weaker than normal plants. They are abnormal in growth, development, viability, and reproduction, and can be more susceptible to toxic metals, to disease organisms, to insects and to grazing herbivores.

end faq

 

Micronutrients

Boron (B)

  • Helps in the use of nutrients and regulates other nutrients. 
  • Aids production of sugar and carbohydrates. 
  • Essential for seed and fruit development. 
  • Sources of boron are organic matter and borax

Copper (Cu)

  • Important for reproductive growth.
  • Aids in root metabolism and helps in the utilization of proteins. 

Chloride (Cl)

  • Aids plant metabolism. 
  • Chloride is found in the soil. 

Iron (Fe)

  • Essential for formation of chlorophyll.
  • Sources of iron are the soil, iron sulfate, iron chelate. 

Manganese (Mn)

  • Functions with enzyme systems involved in breakdown of carbohydrates, and nitrogen metabolism. 
  • Soil is a source of manganese.

Molybdenum (Mo)

  • Helps in the use of nitrogen
  • Soil is a source of molybdenum. 

Zinc (Zn)

  • Essential for the transformation of carbohydrates.
  • Regulates consumption of sugars.
  • Part of the enzyme systems which regulate plant growth. 
  • Sources of zinc are soil, zinc oxide, zinc sulfate, zinc chelate.

Nickel (Ni)

  • In higher plants, Nickel is absorbed by plants in the form of Ni+2 ion .
  • Nickel is essential for activation of urease, an enzyme involved with nitrogen metabolism that is required to process urea. Without Nickel, toxic levels of urea accumulate, leading to the formation of necrotic lesions.
  • In lower plants, Nickel activates several enzymes involved in a variety of processes, and can substitute for Zinc and Iron as a cofactor in some enzymes.

Sodium (Na)

  • Stimulate the growth- increase leaf area, stomata, improve the water balance
  • Reduce the photosystem II activity and ultrastructural changes in mesophyll chloroplast
  • Improves the crop quality

Cobalt (Co)

Cobalt is the central component in vitamin B12. This is essential for growth of the rhizobium, the specific bacteria involved in legume nodulation and fixation of atmospheric nitrogen into amino acids and proteins in legumes. Vitamin B12 which contains Cobalt, is synthesised by the rhizobium and circulated in haemoglobin. The haemoglobin content in the nodules is directly related to nitrogen fixation. Thus a deficiency in Cobalt is shown in reduced Vitamin B12 production and lower nitrogen fixation.

end faq

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