Fertilizers are Plant Nutrients
Fertilizers contains the nutrients that are essential to plant growth and development. With these nutrients, plants produce the food that animals and human beings eat.
Plants require 16 nutrient elements which are essential for completion of the life cycle. Carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O) are derived from air (carbon dioxide, CO2) and water. Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sulphur (S), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), boron (B), chloride (Cl), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo) and zinc (Zn) are mineral nutrients that are normally derived from the soil in the form of inorganic salts.
The absence or low availability of these nutrients results in death of the plant, or poor growth that is generally accompanied by visual deficiency symptoms. The nutrients must be provided by the soil, manures and/or mineral fertilizer. The nutrients are primarily taken up by the roots as ions that exist in the soil solution.
Nitrogen is an important component of many important structural, genetic and metabolic compounds in plant cells. It is an elementary constituent of numerous organic compounds of general importance, such as amino acids, proteins, nucleic acids, enzymes and the chlorophyll molecule.
Phosphorus (P) is an essential nutrient, both as a part of several key plant structural compounds and as a catalyst in the conversion of numerous key biochemical reactions in plants. Phosphorus is noted especially for its role in capturing and converting the sun's energy into useful plant compounds.
Potassium (K), along with nitrogen and phosphorus, is one of the three essential plant macronutrients, and is taken up by plants from the soil in relatively large amounts. Potassium increases yield and maintains the quality of agricultural produce, enhances the ability of plants to resist diseases, insect attacks, cold and drought stresses, and other adverse conditions.
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Magnesium (Mg) is required by all crops to enable them to use photosynthesis to capture the sun's energy for growth and production. Photosynthesis occurs in chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants, and magnesium is the central atom of the chlorophyll molecule, and each molecule contains 6.7% magnesium.
Sulfur (S) is an essential element in forming proteins, enzymes, vitamins, and chlorophyll in plants, and in nodule development in legumes. Protein synthesis requires large amounts of sulfur, which also plays an important role in the formation of oils within the seed.
Chloride (Cl) is an essential micronutrient that serves as a key osmotic regulator in the plant, being responsible for the hydration and turgor of the plant cells. It aids the movement of water into cells and promotes the ability of cells to retain water, which is especially important when plants are under moisture stress.
Micronutrients are elements which are essential for plant growth, but are required in much smaller amounts than nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The micronutrients are boron (B), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), zinc (Zn), and chloride (Cl).