Plants are the only source of food for all the living organisms existing on the planet earth. Foods provide us with different types of nutrients required for growth, development, repair, and other life processes. The mode of obtaining nutrients varies in different organisms.
All green plants synthesize their own food by the process called photosynthesis. All animals including humans depend on the plants and other animals for their food and energy. There are certain essential elements which plants depends on to produce nutrients. All the essential minerals are obtained from the soil.
Let us learn in detail about the role of soil in plant nutrition, how soil fertility affects the plant’s life and the significance of the replenishment of nutrients in the soil.
Soil Fertility for Replenishment of Nutrients
Most of us know that the sun is the ultimate source of energy. But the elements required for the preparation of energy sources come from down, deep under the soil. The food we obtain from plants are rich in carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. But from where do plants obtain these nutrients is a topic of higher concern. Here, soil fertility plays a significant role in the existence of plants and other forms of life.
What is Soil fertility
Soil fertility mainly refers to the ability of soil or the potential of soil in a particular region to maintain plants growth.
Fertile soil results in high yield and better quality of plants. An ideal fertile soil is rich in fundamental elements and minerals, has good aeration, water holding capacity, and good texture. An ideal fertile soil is a dream of every farmer, especially when farming is a profit-based business. Farmers have to take care of the soil fertility on a monthly basis or at least annually. This can be done both naturally and artificially.
Plants produce carbohydrates (glucose) during photosynthesis. But for other mineral nutrients, they depend on soil.
In the case of proteins- a nitrogen-containing compounds, plants get nitrogen for protein synthesis from the soil. Unlike carbon dioxide and oxygen, atmospheric nitrogen cannot be obtained through stomata of leaves.
Rhizobium is the soil bacteria lives on the roots of legumes plants and has the ability to convert the non-absorbable atmospheric nitrogen into the usable form of nitrogen for plants use. Peas, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans, peanuts, and tamarind are all examples of legume plants.
Rhizobium is a bacterial species, living in symbiosis with legumes plants. They share a mutual relationship with plants. These bacteria live on the plant’s roots and obtain their food and in reverse help plants by obtaining non-absorbable nitrogen from the soil. With the help of the natural phenomenon of lightning, these bacteria convert the nitrogen into the usable form, which gets dissolved in the soil for plants to absorb from the soil.
This is the reason why farmers do crop rotation, where leguminous plants help to replenish nitrogen content in the soil without the necessity of fertilizers.
As we know, soil fertility varies from one place to another. Plants growing on nitrogen deficient soil depend on small insects for nitrogen. Such plants are called insectivorous plants.
Examples are Pitcher plant, Venus fly trap, etc.
Other than protein and carbohydrates, plants also need certain minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, etc. for the proper growth. In some places, farmers use artificial fertilizers to replenish nutrients in the soil for proper growth, high quality, and better yield products.
To know more about Soil Fertility, Replenishment of Nutrients, refer the topics given below: