Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Did you know plants use only inorganic minerals

I've never heard before that plants use only inorganic minerals. Is there a source from which to quote?

Rita & Group:

There are probably a million sources for this knowledge, and perhaps other members of the Group can do a better job of finding something written simply and succinctly, but here are a few I found at 12 midnight, which I hope are satisfactory to answer your question.

From Wickipedia under Plant Physiology - "Researchers discovered in the 1800s that plants absorb essential mineral nutrients as inorganic ions in water. In natural conditions, soil acts as a mineral nutrient reservoir but the soil itself is not essential to plant growth. When the mineral nutrients in the soil are dissolved in water, plant roots absorb nutrients readily, soil is no longer required for the plant to thrive. This observation is the basis for hydroponics, the growing of plants in a water solution rather than soil, which has become a standard technique in biological research, teaching lab exercises, crop production and as a hobby."

Another article, http://www.iisc.ernet.in/academy/resonance/July1998/pdf/July1998p45-52.pdf describes in detail how plants work. The first paragraph gives us the basics of what we need to know for this discussion:

"Animals, including man, require food in the form of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, etc., which in turn are provided either directly or indirectly by plants. Then, how do plants obtain their food?

Plants have the unique ability to synthesize their own food
utilizing solar energy and the inorganic elements (minerals) available in theirsurroundings. They obtain their carbon, hydrogen, and oxygenfrom water and from the atmospheric CO2 and O2. The soil is thesource of other inorganic nutrient elements which are normally
available as ions such as NO3
–, H2PO4
–, SO4
– –, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+,
Fe3+, etc."

Jim Kennard

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