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Essential Mineral Plant Nutrients: their concentration in plants, functions and classification

Name

Chemical symbol

Range of Concentration (%)

Nutrient category

Function in plant

Nitrogen

N

0.5-6

Proteins, amino acids

Phosphorus

P

0.15-0.5

Nucleic acids, ATP

Potassium

K

0.8-8

Catalyst, ion transport

Sulfur

S

0.1-1.5

Amino acids

Calcium

Ca

0.1-6

Cell wall component

Magnesium

Mg

0.05-1 Concentration (ppm)

Part of chlorophyll

Iron

Fe

20-600

Chlorophyll synthesis

Copper

Cu

2.0-50

Component of enzymes

Manganese

Mn

10-600

Activates enzymes

Zinc

Zn

10-250

Activates enzymes

Boron

B

0.2-800

Molybdenum

Mo

0.1-10

Cell wall component Involved in N fixation, nitrate reduction

Nickel

Ni

0.05-5

Enzymatic – plant urease

Chlorine

Cl

10-80,000

Photosynthesis reactions

Cobalt

Co

0.05-10

Essential in N-fixing systems

Silicon

Si

0.1-10

Essential for some (rice), quasi-essential for many

0.001-8

Essential for some (palms, sugar beet), quasi-essential for many

Sodium

Na

Primary macronutrients Secondary macronutrients

Micronutrients

Sources: nd Epstein and Bloom. 2005. Mineral Nutrition of Plants: Principles and Perspectives, 2 edition. Allen V. Barker; D. J. Pilbeam (2007). Handbook of plant nutrition. CRC Press.

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