Plant Nutrients (Macro And Micro-Nutrient): Functions And Deficiency Symptoms Of Plant Nutrients

Agricultural Science

Plants require nutrients or elements obtained from the soil for good growth and healthy development. These elements or nutrients are classified into two main groups which are:

1. Macro Nutrients

Macro nutrients are mineral elements or nutrients required by crops in large quantities. Examples of macro-nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium and sulphur.

2. Micro Nutrients Or Trace Elements

Micro nutrients are mineral elements or nutrients required by crops in small quantities. Examples of micro-nutrients are zinc, copper, boron, molybdenum, iron, chlorine and manganese.

Functions And Deficiency Symptoms Of Plant Nutrients

The functions and deficiency symptoms of these elements or nutrients are summarised below:

1. Nitrogen


1. It aids plants growth and reproduction because it is an essential constituent of all proteins.

2. It increases the size of grain in cereals or carbohydrate synthesis.

3. It promotes vegetative and short system growth.

4. Excess nitrogen delays maturation.

Deficiency Symptoms:

1. Stunted growth.
2. Yellowing of leaves (chlorosis).
3. Leaves tend to drop.
4. Poor formation of fruits and flowers.

2. Phosphorus


1. It aids enzyme reactions.

2. It helps in ripening of fruits.

3. It aids fruit formation and maturity.

4. It increases crop resistance and diseases.

Deficiency Symptoms:

1. Stunted growth.
2. Poor root development.
3. Immature fruit drop.
4. Logging results in cereal crops.

3. Potassium


1. It is an important constituent of plant tissues.

2. It aids synthesis of carbohydrate.

3. It activates various plant enzyme reactions.

4. It promotes the development of young plants.

Deficiency Symptoms:

1. Weak slender stems.
2. Delayed growth.
3. Premature loss of leaves.
4. Brown colour at margin of leaves.

4. Calcium


1. It strengthens plant cell walls with calcium pectate.

2. It helps in the translocation and storage of carbohydrate and proteins into seeds and tubers.

3. It strengthens plant cell walls.

4. It is necessary for the normal growth of root tips.

Deficiency Symptoms:

1. It causes stunting of the root system.

2. There is appearance of pale yellow colour in the leaves.

3. Weak slender plants.

5. Boron


1. It is important nutrient in protein synthesis.

2. It facilitates the development of roots.

3. It assists in the formation og fruits and seeds.

Deficiency Symptoms:

1. It causes poor growth of plants.

2. It causes breaking or lodging.

3. Failure of flower buds to develop.

6. Zinc

Functions: It is involved in the action of certain enzymes.

Deficiency Symptoms:

Production of mottled or extremely small leaves.

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