Mineral Nutrition MBBS Notes | EduRev

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Mineral Nutrition MBBS Notes | EduRev

Mineral nutrition in plants

Every living organisms need carbohydrates, proteins, fats, water, and minerals to live. Similarly, plants need 

nutrients for growth and development. 

Methods to study the mineral requirement of plants

• Hydroponics is a technique in which plants are grown in nutrient solution instead of soil. This 

technique is used at the time of commercial production of vegetables. It is also used to study the 

mineral deficiency diseases in plants. 

• Aeroponics is the technique in which nutrients are sprayed suspended in the air.

Essential mineral elements

Different plants have different mineral requirements. There is criterion for the essentiality of an element. It 

includes-

• The element must be necessary for normal growth and reproduction. In the absence of that element the 

plants will not be able to complete its life cycle.

• The requirement of the element must be specific, and it should not be replaceable by any another 

element. 

• The element must be directly involved in the metabolism of the plant.

The mineral elements needed by the plant is divided into- macronutrients and micronutrients

Macronutrients:

These elements are needed by the plants in large quantities. It includes carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, 

phosphorous, sulphur, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are obtained mainly

from CO2 and H2O. Others are absorbed from the soil as mineral nutrition.

Micronutrients

These are the nutrients that are needed by the plants in small quantity. It includes iron, manganese, copper, 

molybdenum, zinc, boron, chlorine and nickel.

Essential elements are grouped in different categories based on their diverse functions such as-

• Essential elements such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen serves as components of various 

biomolecules such as amino acids, lipids and hence structural elements of cells 

• Essential elements are major components of chemical compounds related to energy such as magnesium 

ion in chlorophyll and phosphorous in ATP.

• Essential elements also influence enzyme action by acting as activator and inhibitor of certain 

enzymes. For example, Mg2+ activates both ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase oxygenase and

phosphoenol pyruvate carboxylase. Both of these are essential in carbon fixation. Zn2+ activates

alcohol dehydrogenase and Mo is essential for nitrogenase activity during nitrogen metabolism. 

• Some essential elements control osmolarity of a cell. Potassium ions control the opening and closing 

of stomata. 

Mineral Nutrition MBBS Notes | EduRev

Mineral Nutrition MBBS Notes | EduRev

Mineral Nutrition MBBS Notes | EduRev

Mineral Nutrition MBBS Notes | EduRev

Mineral Nutrition MBBS Notes | EduRev

Biological nitrogen fixation occurs in presence of nitrogen fixing bacteria such as Rhizobium. The 

prokaryotes that fixes nitrogen biologically are known as diazotrophs. Rhizobium lives in symbiotic 

association with the roots of the leguminous plants. The enzyme that fixes nitrogen biologically is 

known as nitrogenase. Nitrogen fixing bacteria can be free living as well as symbiotic. Examples of 

free-living nitrogen-fixing aerobic microbes are Azotobacter, Rhodospirillum, Anabaena and Nostoc 

etc.

Rhizobium lives in symbiotic association with the leguminous plants such as pea, beans, clover, alfalfa, 

etc. Nitrogen fixation involves characteristic nodule formation. Nodule formation begins with the 

interaction of Rhizobium with the roots of the plants. These plants release certain chemicals that attract

the bacteria towards the roots of the plants. The Rhizobium secrets root hair curling factor that helps 

the bacteria to further invade the roots. Nitrogenase enzyme that catalyses nitrogen fixation is sensitive 

to oxygen. Oxygen is therefore scavenged by the enzyme leghemoglobin (belonging to hemoglobin 

family) during nitrogen fixation.

Mineral Nutrition MBBS Notes | EduRev

Mineral Nutrition MBBS Notes | EduRev

Mineral Nutrition MBBS Notes | EduRev

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