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  • Mineral elements, which are required by plants, can be classified into two groups: macronutrients and micronutrients.
  • The major micronutrients, needed by plants are iron, chlorine, manganese, boron, zinc, copper and molybdenum.
  • The mineral elements required by higher plants come from the soil or the water in which the plants grow.
  • The role of individual elements has been largely determined by growing plants with their roots immersed in nutrient solution without soil. This technique is known as hydroponics.
  • Nitrogen is the mineral element required by plants in greatest amount.
  • Phosphorus is found in plants as a constituent of nucleic acids, phospholipids, coenzymes NAD and NADP and most important, as a constituent of ATP.
  • Phosphorus deficiency may cause premature leaf fall, and purple of red anthocyanin pigmentation.
  • The vitamins biotin, thiamine and coenzyme A contain sulphur.
  • Calcium deficiency affects the meristematic regions of stems, leaf and root tips which eventually die resulting in termination of growth in these regions.
  • Iron is also found in the iron porphyrins, such as cytochrome. The most easily observed symptom of iron deficiency in plants is extensive chlorosis in the leaves.
  • Magnesium is a constituent of the chlorophyll molecule without which photosynthesis would not occur.
  • Chlorine influences the process of photosynthesis and also helps in the maintenance of ionic balance.
  • Absorption of salts takes place through the root system which is in intimate contact with the soil colloids or soil solution.
  • Mineral nutrients absorbed by the root are carried to the xylem. This takes place by two pathways called apoplast and symplast.
  • Nitrate is either available to the plant or converted into nitrogen gas in the process of denitrification by other microorganisms, e.g. Pseudomonas.
  • The two most important amides found in plants are asparagines and glutamine.
  • The nodules of the leguminous plants represent an excellent example of symbiosis, a relationship in which two different organisms live in close association, in intimate physical contact, with mutual benefit.
  • The parasitic fungi may be of two types: facultative and obligate parasites.
  • Some plants adopt a carnivorous mode of nutrition to supplement their photosynthetic diet. These plants capture and digest flies and other insects.
  • There are two types of vascular tissues in plants: the xylem and the phloem.
  • Phloem tubes translocate the food manufactured in the leaves to all other parts of the plant body.
  • Water enters the plant through roots hairs. As a result of higher concentration of solutes in these cells than in the soil solution, water enters osmotically.

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