Plant World

Soil, Gardening, and Farming

What is the function of various plant nutrients?

Element Approximate Percent of Dry Weight Important Functions
Macronutrients    
Carbon 44 Major component of organic molecules
Oxygen 44 Major component of organic molecules
Hydrogen 6 Major component of organic molecules
Nitrogen 1–4 Component of amino acids, proteins, nucleotides, nucleic acids, chlorophyll, coenzymes
Potassium 0.5–6 Component of enzymes, protein synthesis, operation of stomata
Calcium 0.2–3.5 Component of cell walls, maintenance of membrane structure and permeability, activates some enzymes
Magnesium 0.1–0.8 Component of chlorophyll molecule, activates many enzymes
Phosphorus 0.1–0.8 Component of ADP and ATP, nucleic acids, phospholipids, several coenzymes
Sulfur 0.05–1 Components of some amino acids and proteins, coenzyme A
Micronutrients Concentrations (parts per million) Important Functions
Chlorine 100–10,000 Osmosis and ionic balance
Iron 25–300 Chlorophyll synthesis, cytochromes, nitrogenase
Micronutrients Concentrations (parts per million) Important Functions
Manganese 15–800 Activator of certain enzymes
Zinc 15–100 Activator of many enzymes, active in formation of chlorophyll
Boron 5–75 Possibly involved in carbohydrate transport and nucleic acid synthesis
Copper 4–30 Activator or component of certain enzymes
Molybdenum 0.1–5 Nitrogen fixation, nitrate reduction


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