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Deficiency Symptoms Of Essential Elements

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The naturally inorganic nutrients found in food and soil that are necessary for the healthy operation of an animal or plant’s body are known as minerals.
Minerals are essential to human survival. Micronutrients, such as boron, copper, and others, are needed by plants in tiny amounts, whereas macronutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, are needed in larger quantities.

Essential Plant Nutrients 

A vital nutrient must be reduced to its simplest form before it can be utilized by a plant. Either a positively charged ion (cation) or a negatively charged ion must be present in the form of the nutrition (anion). Organic substances, such as those found in manure or dead leaves, must first be converted into their elemental or ionic forms before a plant may utilize them.

Additionally, even if an element is present in large concentrations in the soil, plants cannot utilize it if it is not in the right form (a certain ion). For instance, the presence of iron (Fe) in the soil does not guarantee that the plant will have access to sufficient amounts of the right iron ions, Fe2+ or Fe3+.

Almost all of the necessary nutrients are absorbed by plants through their roots. The stomata, or leaf pores, through which carbon is absorbed, are the exception. The following two kinds of soil-dwelling organisms enhance the roots’ uptake of nutrients

  • Mineralization is the process by which microorganisms, sometimes known as microbes, convert organic substances into inorganic compounds.
  • By enlarging the roots and boosting soil-to-root contact, fungi help some plants absorb phosphorus.

Deficiency Symptoms 

A plant’s growth is slowed down when it receives insufficient amounts of a necessary mineral. The “critical concentration” of an essential element is the level below which a plant’s growth is inhibited. The plant is deemed to be lacking in that specific element if the concentration is lower. Plant morphological changes can indicate deficiencies. They are referred to as “deficiency symptoms.” These symptoms change depending on the mineral and go away when adequate doses are offered. However, if the deficit persists, the plant will die.

The area of the plant that experiences the effects of a deficiency is influenced by the mineral’s mobility. For instance, the nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium deficiencies first manifest in the older leaves before spreading to the younger leaves.

However, a deficiency first manifests in the young leaves when it comes to minerals that are immobile or cannot be moved out of the mature organs. For instance, calcium is difficult to mobilize because it is a part of the cell’s structural makeup. The following forms of deficiencies are manifested in plants:

Nutrients  Deficiency
Iron Young leaves are yellow and white. 
Manganese Yellow spots and elongated holes between the veins. 
Potassium Yellow at the tips and edges, yellow patches develops on leaves. 
Phosphate Leaves are darker than normal. 
Magnesium Lower leaves turn yellow from outside going in veins remain green
Chlorosis Inhibition of cell division and delay of flowering. 
Nitrogen Appears as a pale yellowish-green plant with slow growth &  reduce development. 
Calcium Youngest leaves are usually small & misshapen with brown chlorotic spots developing.
  • Loss of chlorophyll (chlorosis) brought on by a lack of N, K, S, Fe, Mg, Mo, Mn, and Zn.
  • Necrosis (tissue death), especially in leaf tissue, is caused by a deficiency in Ca, Mg, K, and Cu.
  • cell division is impeded by a deficiency of N, K, S, and Mo
  • Due to low N, S, and Mo levels, flowering was delayed.
  • It is important to remember that different plants react differently to various deficits. 

FAQs on Deficiency Symptoms Of Essential Elements

Question 1: What is deficiency? 


A lack of a material (such a vitamin or mineral) needed by the living  being. 

Question 2: The definition of nutritional deficiency? 


Malnutrition or sickness caused by a diet lacking in key nutrients (such as vitamins and minerals).

Question 3: What are the micronutrients? 


There are 7 essential plant nutrient elements defined as micronutrients [boron (B), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo), chlorine (Cl)]. They constitute in total less than 1% of the dry weight of most plants. 

Question 4: What are the signs of nitrogen deficiency symptoms in plants? 


A generalized pale yellowish-green plant with poor growth and limited tiller development is a sign of nitrogen (N) shortage. Plants stay pale green, grow more slowly, and the stand appears weak if the deficit continues.

Question 5: What impact does phosphorus have on plant growth?


The growth of new tissue and cell division consequently depend on phosphorus. The numerous energy transformations that take place in plants also involve phosphorus.

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Last Updated : 25 Sep, 2022
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