How plants feed

In the ordinary care to be devoted to plants, fertilization is included. Many of us do this mechanically, but how many are wonderinghow do plants feed?Of course, if you have come to ask yourself this question you must be a very curious person and a lover of nature: congratulations! :) Not everyone wonders about how things work.

Today I'll explain just that,how plants feedand, broadly speaking, how they absorb nutrients from the soil.

Unlike humans, plants are immobile and therefore I have tomake dowith what is available in that particular place.

Plants feed using two distinct mechanisms:

  • Chlorophyll photosynthesis - therefore by means of light radiation
  • Root absorption - therefore through compounds absorbed by the soil

Photosynthesis allows the plant to transform solar energy (light radiation) into chemical energy (organic compounds). I told you about the plant metabolism in the dedicated articles: Plants C3 is CAM plants. In this plant I will explain to youhow plants feedthrough the absorption of nutrients by the root system.

How plants feed

Plants have the ability to independently synthesize molecules useful for vital functions such as carbohydrates and proteins. This is why they are called "autotrophic organisms".

On the contrary, man is a heterotrophic organism because he needs to take these compounds with food.

Theplantsthey start from very simple molecules (water, carbon dioxide and mineral salts) to synthesize much more complex molecules.

Carbon dioxide enters the plant throughstomata:then it is absorbed by the leaves. From the roots, the plant is able to absorb water and mineral salts (nutritional elements).

What do plants eat?

Depending on the absorbed quantities of these nutrients, we speak of main, secondary and microelements. The macroelements (main nutrients) are

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium

Mesoelements, i.e. secondary nutrients, are:

  • Football
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium
  • Sulfur

The microelements, that is, those nutrients that the plant absorbs only in small quantities but which are still essential for its ownmetabolismI'm:

  • Boron
  • Cobalt
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Molybdenum
  • Copper
  • Zinc

To the nutrients listed above, water, light, carbon dioxide and chlorine are added.

Thanks to this group of elements, plants are able to sustain themselves and ensure a good metabolism. Not only must the elements be available in the soil but the roots must also be able to absorb them. This is why the soil structure can also make a difference in terms of "fertility".

Yes, all very interesting ... but this does not answer the initial question:how do plants feed?

Root absorption

The plant cell is specialized for each tissue, this phenomenon is known as cell differentiation. Thus the plant cells that make up the leaves have stomata and waxes, the plant cells that make up the barks are extremely lignified, the plant cells of the xylem and phloem (they are the tissues responsible for the transport of nutrients, a bit like our circulatory system and lymphatic) are specialized for transport by completely losing the nucleus….

The plant cells of the root system are specialized to allow exchanges with the external environment (soil).

The root system is, therefore, the plant organ responsible for absorbing water and nutrients from the soil.

The root cell, through specific transporters, introduces nutrients into the cell which it then transports to the rest of the plant through the previously accepting circulatory systems (xylem and phloem).

Why is irrigation important? Because the absorption of nutrients occurs in the liquid phase. Plant nutrients, dissolved in the liquid phase of the soil, come into contact with the root surfaces that provide absorption through complex mechanisms.

Due to the particular structural specialization of plant cells at the root level, these have the ability to fix and exchange cations (charged molecules, that is the nutrients it needs) creating a direct exchange between soil surfaces and the plant.

What is nitrogen used for for plants?

Each nutrient has its specific function. Nitrogen, for example, plays a large number of roles. It is also extremely useful for humans where it constitutes proteins, DNA and RNA.

Also in the plant, nitrogen is used for the production of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), for the formation of proteins and vitamins. In addition, it enters the composition of other fundamental molecules for plants, first of all, thechlorophyll.

Phosphorus is also a fundamental constituent. It is potassium that is not: this, however, has a fundamental role because it regulates many physiological processes such as the formation and accumulation of reserve substances and the mechanisms of resistance to adversity. For example, to protect succulents from the cold ... it is advisable to add potassium to the soil!