<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

The fertiliser industry

The value of nutrients

Nutrients are very important for life to exist. An essential nutrient is any chemical element that is needed for a plant to be able to grow from a seed and complete its life cycle. The same is true for animals. A macronutrient is one that is required in large quantities by the plant or animal, while a micronutrient is one that only needs to be present in small amounts for a plant or an animal to function properly.

Nutrient

A nutrient is a substance that is used in an organism's metabolism or physiology and which must be taken in from the environment.

In plants, the macronutrients include carbon (C), hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). The source of each of these nutrients for plants, and their function, is summarised in [link] . Examples of micronutrients in plants include iron, chlorine, copper and zinc.

The source and function of the macronutrients in plants
Nutrient Source Function
Carbon Carbon dioxide in the air Component of organic molecules such as carbohydrates, lipids and proteins
Hydrogen Water from the soil Component of organic molecules
Oxygen Water from the soil Component of organic molecules
Nitrogen Nitrogen compounds in the soil Part of plant proteins and chlorophyll. Also boosts plant growth.
Phosphorus Phosphates in the soil Needed for photosynthesis, blooming and root growth
Potassium Soil Building proteins, part of chlorophyll and reduces diseases in plants

Animals need similar nutrients in order to survive. However since animals can't photosynthesise, they rely on plants to supply them with the nutrients they need. Think for example of the human diet. We can't make our own food and so we either need to eat vegetables, fruits and seeds (all of which are direct plant products) or the meat of other animals which would have fed on plants during their life. So most of the nutrients that animals need are obtained either directly or indirectly from plants. [link] summarises the functions of some of the macronutrients in animals.

The functions of animal macronutrients
Nutrient Function
Carbon Component of organic compounds
Hydrogen Component of organic compounds
Oxygen Component of organic compounds
Nitrogen Component of nucleic acids and proteins
Phosphorus Component of nucleic acids and phospholipids
Potassium Helps in coordination and regulating the water balance in the body

Micronutrients also play an important function in animals. Iron for example, is found in haemoglobin, the blood pigment that is responsible for transporting oxygen to all the cells in the body.

Nutrients then, are essential for the survival of life. Importantly, obtaining nutrients starts with plants, which are able either to photosynthesise or to absorb the required nutrients from the soil. It is important therefore that plants are always able to access the nutrients that they need so that they will grow and provide food for other forms of life.

The role of fertilisers

Plants are only able to absorb soil nutrients in a particular form. Nitrogen for example, is absorbed as nitrates , while phosphorus is absorbed as phosphates . The nitrogen cycle (Grade 10) describes the process that is involved in converting atmospheric nitrogen into a form that can be used by plants.

Questions & Answers

what does organic mean
ntuthuko Reply
it means "from living thing"
Maqaqatu
What is a successful collision?
Refiloe Reply
It's a collision that results to a reaction
Tshepo
what is the factor and reaction rate of 20%HCL and 5%HCL
Kleng Reply
concentration and 0.05M/s
Tokozan
how you reaching with apartment depends on what each of you have
Edelita Reply
how with 4looseyellowprotons in your left hand stars are mostly hydrogen so this is your fuel you will also need one six so did die
Edelita
besides the concentration what are the two conditions for the hydrogen half cell to function under standard conditions
Malwandla Reply
forces of non-concervative
Marlet Reply
What is the following process is likely to involve carbon burning?
Sofie Reply
Combustion
Luyanda
Which Statement is part of the cell theory?
Hananiya Reply
What is the second formal statement in the cell theory
Hananiya
🤔
Bontle
what is meant by ohmic
nthabiseng Reply
when someone is referred to as ohmic, it basically means that it obeys ohm's law
Tanaka
*something
Tanaka
what is photosynthesis
Sihle Reply
is process whereby green plants to convert light energy into chemical energy.
Marcelo
what is an isomer?
Kiba Reply
organic compounds with the same molecular formula but different structural formula
liphelo
how is frequency directly proportional to kinetic energy max. and what is the relationship between the wavelength and the energy of a photon. eg if a photon with a greater wavelength and a photon with less frequency. what would be the energies. as in which one would be greater and why
Pearl Reply
relationship wave depend n enrgy greadt reflect of energy n the form of tex shape
thulare
what is Cell capacity?
liphelo Reply
what are hydrocarbons
Nyiko Reply
compounds that are made up of hydrogen and carbon only
Patience
They are compounds that consist only with hydrogen &carbon elements.
Duncan
how do i calculate the work done on an object by a frictional force
Emmelda Reply
@ Emmelda it's W = FxCos180 Where 180° is the angle between Frictional force and where the object is going, it's always 180° because it opposes the motion. Then F is the magnitude of the force and x is the displacement
Vukona

Get the best Siyavula textbooks: gr... course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, Siyavula textbooks: grade 12 physical science. OpenStax CNX. Aug 03, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11244/1.2
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Siyavula textbooks: grade 12 physical science' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask