Effects of Nutrient Defficiency on Plants

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Plants require nutrients in order to build tissues and perform basic metabolic processes. Nutrients for plants are categorized into micronutrients (nutrients required in small amounts) and macronutirents (nutrients required in large amounts) (Rush et al. 2014). Nitrogen and Phosphorus are classified into the bracket of macronutrients and therefore the absence of those can lead to limited plant growth. Nitrogen deficiency has been repeatedly associated with inhibiting growth and leaf expansion (Khamis et al. 1990; Sinclair and Vadez 2002). The shrinking of the leaves is thought to have preceded the inhibition of photosynthesis (Paul and Driscoll 1997). This consequently affects the growth of the plant as there is not much surface area on the leaves to absorb light which decreases the production of sugars. A study that was conducted using Barley plants suggested that Nitrogen deficient plants had an accumulation of phenolic compounds on the leaves (which are acidic compounds synthesized by plants as a response to pest attack). The compounds had an effect on fluorescence emissions which were correlated to growth inhibition ( Sarah-Amélie et al. 2004). Phosphorous serves to be an indispensible element for plants because it promotes root growth while enhancing the utilization of soil nutrients and water by plants and is important in increasing crop yields(Wang and Li 2004). A study supporting this was conducted with tomatoes, marigold and bell pepper, the results of which illustrated that when grown under no supplemental Phosphorus, the plants experienced stunted growth (Broschat and Klock-Moore 2000). This lab is set up to investigate how plant growth, specifically the growth of wheat, is affected by the presence and absence of the t... ... middle of paper ... ...sorption, specifically of nitrogen and phosphorous, by the plants in the control medium. This could have resulted from external factors such lower or higher than ideal temperatures or inconsistent light exposure. The results of this experiment suggested that absence of nitrogen does have an effect on shoot length, the absence of phosphorous does have an effect on root length while biomass is not affected by the absence or presence of those nutrients. Area of possible further research could be to see how the rhizobacteria and mycorrhiza affect plant growth in nutrient deficient soils such as the ones examined in this experiment. Although they are considered to be symbionts, in the event of severe nutritional deficit, will they continue to aid the plant or negative impact the plant by depleting it of its own resources such as sugar while giving nothing in return.

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