Plant Nutrients Essential for Adaptation and Yield

The growth of plants depends heavily on bioelements, which are crucial nutrients. According to studies, 13 of the total 17 elements are regarded as bioelements for plants.

Plant Nutrients Essential for Adaptation and Yield

Plant nutrients are essential to a plant’s ability to successfully adapt to any challenging environment. They also play a vital role in yield and help plants endure harsh weather conditions. This vitamin, a major source of energy, is absolutely necessary for every aspect of plant metabolism.

The growth of plants depends heavily on bioelements, which are crucial nutrients. According to studies, 13 of the total 17 elements are regarded as bioelements for plants.

In terms of plant nutrition, these elements are further divided into macro- and micro-elements. Six components make up macro elements, while 10 elements make up micro elements.

The categorization of sodium, silicon, and nickel, which may be included as micronutrients, is currently being studied in a recent study. These three components are now referred to as helpful components.

Arnon Criteria for Nutrients:

Arnon developed a set of standards for identifying the elements that are absolutely necessary and act as the plant’s main source of nutrition.

According to Arnon, an essential nutrient is distinguished by its crucial function in the life cycle of plants. Without this specific nutrient, plants are unable to completely complete their life cycle, which includes growth, development, and reproduction.

Such a nutrient is indispensable for sustaining plant activities since its shortage cannot be made up for by the presence of other components.

These 17 fundamental components are necessary for a plant’s growth and development. These components may be split into two groups: micronutrients, which are needed in high amounts, and micronutrients, which are needed in lower amounts.

Macronutrients :

  1. Carbon (C)
  2. Hydrogen (H)
  3. Oxygen (O)
  4. Nitrogen (N)
  5. Phosphorus (P)
  6. Potassium (K)
  7. Calcium (Ca)
  8. Magnesium (Mg)
  9. Sulphur (S)

Micronutrients :

  • Iron (Fe)
  • Manganese (Mn)
  • Zinc (Zn)
  • Copper (Cu)
  • Molybdenum (Mo)
  • Chlorine (Cl)
  • Boron (B)
  • Nickel (Ni)

Improved Plant Nutrients and Their Roles:

  • Nitrogen:

Nitrogen plays a critical role in the generation of high yields in fodder crops. However, nitrogen comes with a number of dangers, especially when used in sandy soil with little organic matter and a lot of rainfall. These circumstances aid in the leaching process, which causes nitrogen to easily wash away from the soil and be lost.

Leaching and volatilization, both of which are impacted by environmental variables, are two drawbacks of nitrogen. When temperatures are high, nitrogen is vulnerable to leaching during periods of heavy rain, which causes it to travel outside the root zone.

Additionally, nitrogen’s availability to plants can be further diminished by the gaseous volatilization of nitrogen at high temperatures.

Nitrogen directly affects a number of physiological processes in plants, including coloration. It contributes to the production of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, and other vital substances. This hands-on participation in amino acid synthesis improves all aspects of plant development.

  • Phosphorus:

It is essential for elongation, nutrient absorption, and the early phases of development. A plant needs strong, healthy roots to thrive since they serve as the building blocks for the remainder of the plant’s growth. However, in soils with a high pH, weight, or acidity, phosphorus availability may be limited.

Symptoms of phosphorus deficiency in plants include red stems, stunted growth, poor root structure, and purple foliage. Fortunately, foliar fertiliser sprays can assist in resolving this problem by giving the plant a direct source of phosphorus.

Phosphorus has a direct role in the synthesis of energy molecules like ATP, ADP, and AMP. Additionally, it is essential for the production of grains. Additionally, phosphorus aids in determining the plant’s tip, which is crucial for healthy growth and development.

  • Potassium:

Healthy root growth, nutrition absorption, and early plant development all depend on phosphorus. It is essential for plant development and survival to have a robust root system. However, phosphorus availability may be dangerous due to high pH and heavy, acidic soil.

Poor root structure, limited growth, red stem colour, and purple leaves are signs of phosphorus deficiency. A phosphorus deficit can be treated by foliar fertiliser spray.

Potassium fertiliser plays a crucial role in maintaining plant resistance, water management, food translocation, and fruit flavour. Potash is a source of potassium. It controls how the stomata open and close as well. However, sandy soil, soils with high magnesium and calcium levels, and soil that fixes potassium can all have restricted potassium availability.

Lack of potassium can result in leaf necrosis, leaf tip burn, increased susceptibility to infections and dehydration, and crop lodging. Careful use of potash is important since it can be leached from sandy soils. Hortisul can be effective in addressing potassium deficiency during peak demand.

  • Magnesium:

Magnesium is an essential nutrient for plants, as it is directly involved in chlorophyll and the photosynthesis process. It is also responsible for activating many enzymes in plants.

However, high levels of potassium and calcium can reduce the availability of magnesium in the soil. Magnesium availability can also be limited in high- and low-pH soils, soils with high potash and calcium levels, sandy soils, and soils with poor root architecture.

A deficiency of magnesium can cause chlorosis, which is the yellowing of leaves, particularly in the midrib of leaves, especially in broad-leaved crops. EPSO is an example of a foliar spray that can be used to treat magnesium deficiency. Growers can help their crops grow and achieve optimal yields.

  • Sulphur :

Sulphur is an essential nutrient for oilseed crops as it is required for the production of the hormones Sistine and Sestina. It is also a vital component of some essential plant proteins. However,sulphur availability can be limited in sandy soil, soils with low organic matter,high winter rainfall, and milling wheat.

Sulphur is typically used in a water-soluble form and can be added through manure. A deficiency of sulphur can be identified by yellow leaves,reddish leaf colour, and cup-shaped leaves.

Sulphur indirectly plays a role in chlorophyll formation and activation by co-enzyme A, which has a major role in the Krebs cycle. Sulphur also aids in the production of ferredoxin, which is helpful in photosystem 1. By ensuring that plants have sufficient sulphur,growers can help their crops grow and thrive.

  • Manganese :

Manganese is a trace element that is important for activating many enzymes in the nitrogen cycle. However, manganese availability can be limited in seedbed preparation, high-pH soils and organic soils. A deficiency of manganese can be identified by mottled leaves and speckling,which can convert to necrosis. Foliar application of EPSO can correct manganese deficiency.

  • Boron :

Boron is essential for flowering, cell division, and cell elongation. Oilseed crops have high requirements for boron. Boron availability can be limited in high-pH soils, dry conditions, and sandy soils. A deficiency of boron can cause the death of growing points, root rotting, blooming, hollowing and being misshaped. A foliar application of EPSO can be used to recover from boron deficiency.

  • Zinc :

Zinc is an important plant nutrient that plays a role in seed production, root growth, and disease resistance. While plants require zinc in small quantities, a deficiency of zinc can lead to low crop yields.

Zinc availability can be limited in sandy soils with high pH levels,which  can make zinc unavailable to plants.

A deficiency of zinc can cause chlorosis or yellowing on older leaves and can lead to stunted growth. To address zinc deficiency, growers can use foliar sprays or apply zinc to the soil. By ensuring that plants have sufficient zinc, growers can help their crops grow and resist disease.

Other Nutrients:

Chlorine, iron, calcium, and copper are all important nutrients that contribute to plant yield. These nutrients play a crucial role in activating enzymes in plants that help bind nutrients together, such as iron acting as chelates. Chlorine helps maintain the osmotic balance in cells, while calcium plays a role in the formation of the cell wall.

While these nutrients are considered minor, they are still essential for plant growth and yield. It is recommended to ensure that plants have a sufficient amount of these nutrients. By providing plants with the necessary nutrients, growers can help their crops grow and reach their full potential in terms of yield and quality.

This article is jointly authored by Abdul Rehman Javed and Hira Javed from the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.

By Abdul Rehman Javed

Being as Agronomist.