Minerals (plants) & Fertilisers

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  • Minerals (plants) & Fertilisers
    • Minerals are needed by plants in small amounts for healthy growth
      • during growth these minerals are removed from the soil and if the plants are harvested, they are not replaced
      • natural or artificial fertilisers can be used to replace nitrates in the soil
      • plants absorb nitrates from the soil solution through their root hair cells in a process known as active transport
    • as active transport requires energy and energy is released through respiration, root hair cells will possess many mitochondria, which are the site of respiration
      • farmers can ensure maximum levels of oxygen for respiration by  aerating their soils
      • as respiration is an enzyme catalysed reaction, it will also be affected by temperature
    • plants need:
      • magnesium for chlorophyll formation
      • calcium for the formation of cell walls
      • nitrates to form amino acids which are then used to build proteins
    • Root hair cells are specialised cells, adapted for their function:
      • extended shape which provides a large surface area to volume ratio
        • this increases the rate of absorption of water by osmosis and mineral ions by active uptake
    • Active transport
      • movement of mineral ions from an area of low concentration to an area of high concentration
        • it is an active process requiring energy released from respiration to transport minerals against their concentrationgradient
    • Natural Fertilisers
      • Advantages
        • less soluble than artificial fertiliser so less will be lost by leaching and run-off into waterways
        • improves soil quality by adding to the humus content of the soil
      • disadvantages
        • difficult to know the mineral composition exactly
        • difficult to store and spread
    • Artificial Fertilisers
      • Advantages
        • easier to store
        • can be applied in a more controlled manner
      • disadvantages
        • has to be purchased
        • soluble so can be easily washed away creating pollution problems


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