Plant Nutrients

Plant Nutrients: Minerals are very essential even for the normal growth of plants. Their absence or shortage is marked by the presence of some deficiency symptoms. Minerals are absorbed in the form of ions. As far as their absorption is concerned it may be of two types that are active absorption and passive absorption. 

Active absorption needs energy while passive absorption does not involve any type of metabolic energy. The minerals which are required in large quantities are called macro-nutrients while those which are absorbed in minute quantities are known as micro-nutrients. The following table indicates the role played by each mineral in the plant body.

Plant Nutrients

  1. Nitrogen
  2. Phosphorus
  3. Sulphur
  4. Potassium
  5. Magnesium
  6. Calcium
  7. Zinc
  8. Copper
  9. Manganese
  10. Iron
  11. Boron
  12. Molybdenum

Table.1: Plant Nutrients

NutrientsFunctionDeficiency Symptoms  
1. NitrogenPromotes vigorous vegetative growth. Builds up plant proteins and chlorophyll. The pale yellow appearance of the plant, stunted growth, less flowering, premature shedding of leaves. 
2. PhosphorusBeing an active part of the nucleus of the plant cell, it is essential for plant growth. Stimulant of seed and fruit formation and also a stimulant of root development.  Brings early maturity of crops. Stunted root growth delays maturity and retards plant growth in general. 
3. SulphurSynthesis of various proteins and oils. Formations of nodules and chlorophyll. Leaves turn yellowish-green in colour.
4. PotassiumMainly responsible for the resistance of plants against diseases and adverse climatic conditions. Starch and sugar formation is enhanced and their movements in plant parts are regularised. Scorching and browning of tips of leaves. Shrivelled seeds fruits.  Stunted growth. 
5. MagnesiumAn essential constituent of green plant pigment chlorophyll. Helps in carrying phosphorus and other plant nutrients. Must for oil and fat formation in plants.Discolouration of leaves they tend to curve upwards.  Susceptible to fungal growth. 
6. CalciumPromotes root formation and is responsible for the hardness of plant tissue. Detoxicating agents for organic acids in plants (by way of formation of calcium oxalate and calcium carbonate).  Translocation of carbohydrates necessary for mitosis. Drying of plants, weaken the stem structure, falling of buds and blooms. Root growth retarded. Hooking of the leaf tips. 
7. ZincThe formation of growth hormone-like indole acetic acid, an essential part of most of the enzymes, helps in the utilisation of phosphorus and nitrogen in plants. Various symptoms in different plants. In general, plants are stunted. Yellow coloured spots develop on leaves. 
8. CopperActivator for many plant activities such as development, reproduction and formation of vitamin ‘A’. Visible in certain plants. Brown spots on citrus fruits yellowing of younger leaves in maize. 
9. ManganeseInvolved in the plant respiration process, the catalyst for several enzymatic and physiological reactions in plants. Also in the synthesis of chlorophyll. Interveinal chlorosis leaves turn to yellow colour. 
10. IronNecessary for synthesis and maintenance of chlorophyll as enzyme components. Interveinal chlorosis of young leaves, the yellowish-green colour of leaves.  
11. BoronRegulates potassium ratio uptake and utilization of calcium in plants.  Involved in lignin, and protein synthesis. Terminal buds turn to light green in colour, death of growing plants. 
12. MolybdenumFor nitrogen utilization and nitrogen fixation. Motting of lower leaves marginal necrosis, in the folding of leaves.
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