Mineral Salts Absorption in Plants

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Absorption of Water By Plants - ikenSchoool

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Mineral salt absorption - Chempapy

The problem of soil and plant N remained unsolved. Several workers had observed the unusual behaviour of legumes.

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In some instances they grew well without added N, whereas in others no growth was obtained. Non-legumes always failed to grow when there was insufficient soil N. They concluded that nitrification was the result of bacterial action. These experimental results were applied to soils by Robert Warrington of England.

He showed that nitrification could be stopped by carbon disulfide and chloroform and that it could be started again by adding a small amount of unsterilized soil. He also demonstrated that the reaction was a two-step phenomenon, the NH3 first being converted to nitrites and the nitrites subsequently to nitrates.

In , two German scientists, Hellriegel and Wilfarth, concluded that bacteria in the nodules attached to legume roots assimilated gaseous N from the atmosphere and converted it to a form used by higher plants. This was the first specific information regarding N fixation by legumes.

It was M. Beijerinck, who isolated Bacillus radicicola , the organism responsible for N fixation. According to this theory the plasma membrane is impermeable to free ions. But some compound present in it acts as carrier and combines with ions to form carrier-ion-complex which can move across the membrane.

Mineral nutrition and the water relations of plants

On the inner surface of the membrane this complex breaks releasing ions into the cell while the carrier goes back to the outer surface to pick up fresh ions Fig. Several times, it has been found that actively absorbed radioactive ions such as 35 S0 4 cannot diffuse back or be exchanged with other ions in the outer solution indicating thereby that the plasma membrane is not permeable to free ions.

Beyond a certain limit, increased concentration of salts in outer solution does not bring about an increase in the rate of mineral salt absorption. It is because the active sites on the carrier compound become saturated with ions. Active sites on carrier compound may be specific which can bind only some specific ions. This also explains the selective and unequal absorption of ions by the plants. There are two common hypotheses based on the carrier concept to explain the mechanism of active salt absorption, although they are not universally accepted.

Lundegardh and Burstrom believed that there was a definite correlation between respiration and anion absorption. The inhibition of salt respiration and the accompanying absorption of anions by CO and cyanides which are known inhibitors of cytochrome oxidase of electron transport chain in mitochondria , later on led Lundegardh , 54 to propose cytochrome pump theory which is based on the following assumptions:.