Factors Affecting Mineral Uptake in Plants

Factors Affecting Mineral Uptake in Plants

Factors Affecting Mineral Uptake in Plants

Several plants related and environment factors influence the acquisition of minerals by the plant roots. Some of these influence the process directly, while others have indirect effect; through some other processes. Some factors with direct effects are as follows.

  1. Root growth and extension-

    The growth and development of root are the most important factors influencing the uptake of water and nutrients by the plants. The more extensive the root system, the more nutrients have an opportunity to reach the roots by mass flow and diffusion. Secondly, the metabolic activities in the root create a demand for the nutrients, which influences their uptake. A Jungk and S.A. Barber (1974) found a close relationship between the phosphorus uptake per plant and root length in maize. The relationship was particularly apparent when nutrient solution was low phosphorus.

The age of the root also affects mineral absorption. Young roots are able to take more of minerals than the older suberized and lignified roots. Thus, all processes affecting root growth as well as root metabolism have an indirect influence on nutrient uptake.

  1. The State of soil solution-

    The concentration of the nutrient in the soil solution, its pH, the presence of other inorganic as well as organic substances, the chelators etc., influence mineral uptake by the roots. The concentration of the nutrient has a characteristic influence on its own uptake. Besides, the interception and contact of the root also depends upon nutrient concentration. Higher the concentration of the nutrient, faster is its diffusion towards the roots. Generally, those nutrients which are required by the plants in high amounts are present in soil solution in relatively small concentration. These must be added continuously to the soil for sustained growth of the plant. Such a situation is often encountered in most agricultural lands for phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen.

  2. Root exudates-

    Roots excrete certain products in the soil which influence plant and soil processes, including nutrient absorption. These products may consist of up to 20% or even more of a plant’s photosynthates. These include a wide variety of compounds such as sugar, organic acids amino acids, inorganic ions, siderophores etc. The mucilage is also secreted from most roots. Some of these exudates interact in the process of nutrient absorption. For example, siderophores secreted from many species are thought to be important in iron acquisition by the roots. Some of the siderophores have been identified as non-proteinogenic amino acids. They help in the solubilization of ferric salts, which can be then taken up by the roots. Similarly, various organic acids exuded from the roots provide protons and electrons for the solubilization of insoluble salts of iron, manganese, phosphorus, etc.

  3. Mycorrhizas-

    They increases the absorbing surface for water and minerals. In fact, the exudates from plant roots induce the growth and colonization of fungi and bacteria around the roots. These micro-organisms generally increase nutrient availability to roots. Besides increasing the overall absorptive surface, in some cases they also participate in the solubilization and mobilization of nutrients in the soil. However, in a few cases, the mycorrhizal fungi may come with the plant roots for the nutrients, and thus decreasing the nutrients uptake by the roots.

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