Micronutrients are nutrients that are essential for plants to its growth and balanced crop nutrition. Micronutrients play a major role in metabolic activities of the plant. For example, some nutrients control the permeability of a cell membrane and some other controls osmotic pressure, buffer action, etc. As the name suggests these are needed in very small quantities.
Plants need both Macronutrients and micronutrients for its growth. Macronutrients constitute Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Calcium (Ca), Sulfur (S), Magnesium (Mg).
There are seven essential micronutrients namely Boron (B), Zinc (Zn), Manganese (Mn), Iron (Fe), Copper (Cu), Molybdenum (Mo), Chlorine (Cl). Lack of any of these nutrients affects the growth of the plant.
- Boron (B): Boron is found in tourmaline- a highly insoluble mineral and it is essential for proper forming and strengthening of the cell wall. Boron plays an important role in flowering, fruiting, cell division and pollen germination. Deficiency of boron results in reduced seed and grain production. Boron deficiencies occur generally during drought periods. Excess supply or availability of boron is also harmful to the plant.
- Zinc (Zn): Zinc is an essential element which helps in photosynthesis, energy production and regulation of growth. Zinc deficiency may cause slower maturity and reduction in the size of leaf. Zinc deficiencies often occur during cold, wet spring season.
- Manganese (Mn): Manganese is essential for photosynthesis and nitrogen metabolism. Premature leaf drop and delayed maturity are the symptoms of manganese deficiency. Manganese is abundant in wet soils, whereas dry soil has the limited manganese.
- Iron (Fe): Iron is essential for energy transfer, nitrogen reduction, and fixation. Iron along with sulfur acts as a catalyst in the formation of other reactions. Yellow leaves are the symptom of Iron deficiency.
- Copper (Cu): copper is essential for proper photosynthesis, grain production and to the strengthening of a cell wall. Stunted growth, yellow leaves are the symptoms of copper deficiency. There will not be enough copper in many soils.
- Molybdenum (Mo): Molybdenum is responsible for pollen formation. It is also responsible for nitrogen fixation. Reduced fruit or grain growth are the symptoms of Molybdenum deficiency. Sandy soils in the humid region are the places where zinc deficiencies are found.
- Chlorine (Cl): Chlorine is the nutrient which helps in osmosis and ionic balance. It also plays a key role in the process of photosynthesis. Decreased resistance, reduced plant growth are the symptoms of chlorine deficiency.
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