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FUNCTIONS OF PLANT NUTRIENTS AND THEIR DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

PLANTS NUTRIENTS AND NUTRIENT CYCLES

Plants require nutrients or elements obtained from the soil for good growth and healthy development. These elements or nutrients are classified into two main groups which are:

Macro-Nutrients

Macro-nutrients are mineral elements or nutrients required by crops in large quantities. Examples of macro-nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium and sulphur.

Micro Nutrients or Trace Elements

Micro nutrients are mineral elements or nutrients required by crops in small quantities.

Examples of micro-nutrients

are zinc, copper, boron, molybdenum, iron, chlorine and manganese.

FUNCTIONS AND DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS OF PLANT NUTRIENTS

The functions and deficiency symptoms of these elements or nutrients are summarized below:

Elements Functions Deficiency Symptoms
1 Nitrogen (i) It aids plants growth and reproduction because it is an essential constituent of all proteins

  1. BALANCED DIETS
    141. LACTATION DIETS
    142. MALNUTRITION
  2. RINDER PESTS
    148. NEWCASTLE DISEASE
    149. BACTERIA DISEASES
    150. ANTHRAX
    151. BRUCELLOSIS
    152. TUBERCULOSIS
    153. FUNGAL DISEASES
  3. PROTOZOAN DISEASES
    155. TRYPONOSOMIASIS

    159. TAPE WORM
    160. ROUND WORM OF PIGS
    161. LIVER FLUKE
    162. ECTO PARASITES
    163. TICK

(ii) It increases the size of grain in cereals or carbohydrate synthesis
(iii) It promotes vegetative and short system growth
(iv) Excess nitrogen delays maturation and fruiting
(v) It promotes uptake of potassium and phosphorus from the soul
(vi) It promotes chlorophyll formation or deep green colour of leaves
(vii) It is necessary for the synthesis of plant hormones/enzymes/auxins

(i) Stunted growth
(ii) Yellowing of leaves (Chlorosis)
(iii) Leaves tend to drop
(iv) Poor formation of fruits and flowers

2 Phosphorus (i) It aids enzyme reactions
(ii) It is a constituent of cell nucleaus and essential for cell division
(iii) It increases crop resistance to diseases
(iv) It helps in ripening of fruits
(v) It helps in root development, seed germination, fruit formation and maturity
(vi) It aids seed germination
(vii) It aids fruit formation and maturity
(viii) It improves the good taste of forages and vegetables (i) Logging results in cereal crops
(ii) Leaves turn to purple and brownish colouration from tip backwards
(iii) Stunted growth
(iv) Inhibition of flowering, fruits and seed formation
(v) Poor root development
(vi) Immature fruit drop
3 Potassium (i) It is an important constituent of plant tissues
(ii) It aids synthesis of carbohydrate
(iii) It activates various plant enzyme reactions
(iv) It promotes the development of young plants
(v) It is necessary for neutralization of organic acids in plants
(vi) It is associated with stomata movement and therefore influences water relationship within the plant
(vii) It is a major constituent of plant tissue
(viii) It helps in nitrate uptake from the soil (i) Weak slender stems
(ii) Delayed growth
(iii) Premature loss of leaves

(iv) Brown colour at margin of leaves
4 Calcium (i) It strengthens plant cell walls with calcium pectate
(ii) It helps in the translocation and storage of carbohydrate and proteins into sees and tubers
(iii) It controls the toxicity of aluminum manganese and sodium ions
(iv) It is necessary for the normal growth of root tips
(v) It strengthens plant cell walls
(vi) It helps in high flocculation i.e. good aeration, water infiltration and retention
(vii) It improves the pH of the soil so that nitrogen fixation can be carried out (i) It causes stunting of the root system
(ii) There is appearance of pale yellow colour in the leaves
(iii) Weak slender plants

  1. BALANCED DIETS
    141. LACTATION DIETS
    142. MALNUTRITION
  2. RINDER PESTS
    148. NEWCASTLE DISEASE
    149. BACTERIA DISEASES
    150. ANTHRAX
    151. BRUCELLOSIS
    152. TUBERCULOSIS
    153. FUNGAL DISEASES
  3. PROTOZOAN DISEASES
    155. TRYPONOSOMIASIS

    159. TAPE WORM
    160. ROUND WORM OF PIGS
    161. LIVER FLUKE
    162. ECTO PARASITES
    163. TICK

5 Magnesium (i) It is important in the synthesis of carbohydrate as it is a constituent of chlorophyll
(ii) It assists in the transportation of phosphate, as essential materials to developing fruit seeds
(iii) It enhances plant growth
(iv) It is required for normal cell division
(v) It is necessary for synthesis of oils in plants (i) Chlorosis along the leaf veins
(ii) Stunted growth
(iii) Premature leaf fall

6 Sulphur (i) It is a constituent of plant proteins since it occurs in some amino acids such as cystine and methionine
(ii) It is also a constituent of plant hormones such as biotein and thiamin
(iii) It is essential for chlorophyll formation
(iv) It is also required for carbohydrate metabolism and nitrogen fixation by legumes (i) Yellowing of leaves
(ii) Stunted growth
(iii) Poor rate of photosynthesis

7 Iron (i) It is necessary for chlorophyll formation
(ii) It is necessary for protein synthesis contained in chloroplasts
(iii) It is important in enzyme systems associated with oxidation and reduction reaction (i) Chlorotic condition in leaves, which becomes pale green

8 Manganese (i) It is a constituent of enzymes which are responsible for protein synthesis
(ii) It is important for certain nitrogen transformation in plants and micro-organisms (iii) Young leaves show pale greenish yellow discolouration between veins

9 Copper (i) It is a constituent of certain enzymes
(ii) It is necessary for photosynthesis
(iii) It is involved in respiration and utilization of iron (i) Pale green colour of leaves
(ii) The tips of older leaves dry off and die
(iii) Young leaves tips die back
10 Zinc (i) It is involved in the action of certain enzymes (ii) Production of mottled or extremely small leaves
animals.html”>reproduction because it is an essential constituent of all proteins

11 Boron (i) It is an important nutrient in protein synthesis
(ii) It facilitates the development of roots
(iii) It assists in the formation of fruits and seeds
(iv) It encourages the division of cells in the growing regions of plants
(v) It increases yield
(vi) It facilitates nodulation in leguminous plants (i) It causes the death of tips of roots and shoots
(ii) Failure of flower buds to develop
(iii) It causes poor growth of plants
(iv) It causes breaking or lodging
(v) It decreases the rate of water absorption and translocation of sugars

12 Molybdenum (i) It aids nitrogen fixation acids and proteins
(ii) It is an essential part of enzymatic system involved in facilitating nitrogen change, breakdown of leaf edges (i) Promotes metabolism of nitrates into amino acids and proteins
(ii) It causes mottled leaves
(iii) It leads to curling and
(iv) It causes premature flower drops

  1. FORAGE CROP AND PASTURE
    50. FORAGE GRASSES
    51. SILAGE
    52. PASTURE
    53. TYPES OF PASTURE
    COMMON GRASSES AND LEGUMES
    54. GRASSES
    55. LEGUMES
    56. ESTABLISHMENT OF PASTURES
    57. 201. FORAGE PRESERVATION
    58. HAY SILAGE
    59. FORESTRY IMPORTANCE OF FORESTRY 206. FOREST MANAGEMENT FOREST REGULATION DEFORESTATION AFFORESTATION
    60. DISEASES AND PESTS OF CROPS
    61. MAIZE SMUT
    62. RICE BLAST
    63. MAIZE RUST
    64. LEAF SPOT OF GROUNDNUT
    65. COW-PEA MOSAIC
    66. COCOA BLACK POD DISEASE

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