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What are the nutrients taken by the plants as their food?
Plant nutrients are those chemical elements that are essential to the nourishment of plant health & growth.
Plants get nutrients from three categories, all of which are based on the amount a plant needs. Each nutrient performs a crucial role in plant growth and development. There are two main categories of nutrients, macro and micro, and the other division is that of non-minerals and minerals.
Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Carbon are the non-mineral nutrients that are found in the air and water. In the process of Photosynthesis (making things using light), plants use energy from the sun to change carbon dioxide and water into starches and sugars, which are the food of plants.
Plants need macronutrients in larger amounts whereas the micronutrients are needed in much smaller quantities, but are necessary for growth and development.
About half of the essential elements are considered macronutrients and they can be classified as primary and secondary nutrients.
The primary nutrients are:
Nitrogen (N)- It is necessary for building proteins, produces carbohydrates, and is essential for plant growth.
Phosphorus (P)- It affects the growth of root, seed formation, and maturity of plants.
Potassium (K)- It is important in disease resistance, fruit formation, and affects plant enzymes.
Secondary plant nutrients are:
Calcium (Ca)- It plays many roles in regulating plant system functions like respiration and cell division and in some plants, it is important for nut development.
Magnesium (Mg)- It is a significant component in chlorophyll production, and helps plants to utilize phosphorus and iron.
Sulphur (S)- It helps to develop vitamins, aids in seed production, and is an integral part of forming amino acids.
The eight main micronutrients are boron (B), chlorine (Cl), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo) zinc (Zn) and nickel.
Among these, copper plays a key role in photosynthesis and reproduction. Others help in the absorption and utilization of other elements.
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