Role of Primary and Secondary Plant Nutrients in Crop Production

Crop Production

Nutrients play a vital role in the growth and development of plants. As plant growth happens, the nutrient requirement also increases. Plants generally depend on nutrients available in the soil. Also, fertilizers are used to supply these essential nutrients for plant growth. However, it is important to note that excess nutrients, as well as deficiency of it, can impact crop production and inhibit growth. 

There are different elements classified as macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients which contribute to plant growth according to its function and plant requirements. Macronutrients which consists of primary and secondary nutrients are consumed in extensive quantities by plants. While the primary nutrients are Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, the secondary nutrients constitute Calcium, Magnesium and Sulfur. 

Primary Nutrients

The primary nutrients boost the plant enzyme function, improves biochemical processes and help in plant cell growth. Lack of primary nutrients can affect plant health, growth and eventually the crop production output. Find out more about the function of primary nutrients in the soil. 

Nitrogen – Nitrogen is present in chlorophyll which is important for photosynthesis. Most often, deficiency of nitrogen can be found by observing the plant leaves. A yellow appearance in leaves signifies an insufficient quantity of nitrogen. In addition, nitrogen is a key component of protein and enzymes, and it is found in amino and nucleic acids. Thus, plants lacking in nitrogen will have reduced protein content. 

Phosphorus – Phosphorus is also an important element that contributes to the ATP system in plants known for storing and transferring energy. Deficiency of phosphorus can lead to discolouration of leaves and affect cause low yield and premature fruit drop. 

Potassium – Potassium plays a major role in the metabolic process and stress management of plants. Moreover, it is important for better drought tolerance, protein synthesis and other plant processes. When plants do not take potassium, it can reduce yield and they do not show any visible signs of deficiency as well. 

Secondary Nutrients

Secondary nutrients such as Calcium, Magnesium and Sulphur are essential plant nutrients. However, they are required in less quantity than primary nutrients but more than micro-nutrients. Moreover, secondary nutrient deficiencies also affect plant growth and development. 

Calcium – Calcium plays the role of improving nutrient absorption in plant roots, activates enzymes, and helps in disease resistance in plants. Without a sufficient amount of calcium, root development and activity is affected. 

 Magnesium – Magnesium is an important component of chlorophyll and is essential for different processes like photosynthesis, respiration and enzyme systems.

Sulphur – Sulphur helps in the synthesis of proteins and amino acids. It is also essential for processes like photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation. 

It is important to understand that fertilizers are the main source through which macro-nutrients are made available for plants. However, large scale use of chemical fertilizers is harming the natural environment by causing soil degradation, eutrophication of water bodies, greenhouse gas emissions etc. Therefore, the priority today among researchers is to develop innovative solutions for sustainable plant nutrition and reducing fertilizer inputs. Using microbes for better plant nutrient assimilation is fast emerging as a beneficial method. 

 Role of Microbes in Soil

Soil is generally viewed simply as a source of nutrients for plants. However, for more than a century, scientists and researchers have known that soil contains millions of beneficial microorganisms. They play a major role in plant growth, performance, disease resistance, nutrient assimilation and much more. It is achieved by boosting the bio-availability of nutrients borne in soil, competing with pathogenic microbes and modifying plant signalling mechanisms.

How Soil Microbes Help in Nutrient Assimilation

Macronutrients such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Sulfur are bio-available in small quantities as they are bound in organic molecules. This makes plants nutrient assimilation difficult. Thus, plants depend on microorganisms present in the soil, which can convert organic N, P and S into mineral forms. It releases inorganic form or ionic forms such as nitrate, phosphate and sulfate into the soil which makes it easy for plants to assimilate. This is the way how soil microbes help in nutrient assimilation and improves crop production. 

Organica Biotech is one of the leading companies developing sustainable solutions for agriculture. The microbiome enhancement technologies tap the power of nature and biotechnology to improve soil microbiology and restore it. The Magic Gro range of products consist of plant growth promoting microorganisms that help in plant nutrient uptake and promotes sustainable agriculture. For more details about Magic Gro range of products, contact us at any time. 

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