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Biology notes Nutrition and Gas exchange in plants Page 1

The i mpor t anc e of mi ner al s f or pr oper gr ow t h i n pl ant s

1. Green plants can produce their own organic foods by photosynthesis. However, they need to absorb water and
some minerals from the soil for proper growth.

2. In general, the minerals are absorbed from the soil in form of ions, e.g., nitrates ( NO
) and magnesium ion
( Mg

The appl i c at i on of f er t i l i zer s i n agr i c ul t ur e

1. In crop fields, the minerals in the soil are constantly absorbed by the crops to support their growth. When the
crops are harvested, these minerals are removed from the soil.

2. In order to replace the lost minerals and to maintain soil fertility, fertilizers are added to the soil.

3. There are two types of fertilizers : Organic and inorganic.

Bi ol ogy Not es Sec t i on 3a

Topi c : Nut r i t i on and gas exchange i n
pl ant s
Minerals Function(s) Deficiency symptoms

1. Nitrates for making proteins and DNA 1. poor growth
2. yellowing of leaves

2. Magnesium ions for making chlorophyll 1. yellowing of leaves

Type of

Sources Advantages Disadvantages

1. Organic

From dead bodies, crop
residue, animal manure
The organic matter will be
decomposed and minerals are
released into the soil

1. Forming humus (腐殖質)
which improves soil texture.
2. Nutrients are released
gradually, long-lasting effects.
3. Cheaper
1. Actions are slower.
2. Not hygienic
3. Lower nutrient content

2. Inorganic Artificially made, highly
concentrated salts which can
be added directly to the soil.

1. Faster actions
2. High nutrient content,
readily available.
3. Concentration can be
carefully adjusted.

1. Easily leach away by
2. Decrease water potential
of soil solution, may kill
root cells.
3. It cannot improve soil
Biology notes Nutrition and Gas exchange in plants Page 2
The gas ex c hange i n pl ant s

1. Plants do not have specialized organs for gaseous exchange. As the stems and leaves are covered by c ut i cl e
which is impermeable to water and gases, gaseous exchange can only take place at a few sites :

(a) Through the st omat a (氣 孔 ) of leaves

(b) Through the stomata of green stems or the l ent i c el s ( 皮 孔 ) in the bark ( 樹 皮 ) of woody stems.

(c) At the roots ( not covered by cuticle and have root hairs )

Ef f ec t s of l i ght i nt ensi t y on gaseous ex c hange i n pl ant s

1. In plants, gaseous exchange in green plants is controlled by two processes : respiration and photosynthesis.

2. Respiration takes place at all times while photosynthesis occurs only in the presence of light. The net flow of
gases into and out of a plant depends largely on the balance of the two processes.

3. In general, under strong light conditions, the rate of photosynthesis is faster. As a result, CO
moves into the
leaves through the stomata while oxygen is released. Water vapour also diffuses out through the stomata due to

4. Absorption and release of CO
in plants under different light intensity :

i) At point X, only respiration occurs. CO
is given out.

ii) Between points X and Y, the rate of respiration is faster than that of photosynthesis. More CO
is given out than
taken in.

iii) At point Y, rate of respiration and rate of photosynthesis are the same. CO
released from respiration is equal to
the CO
absorbed for photosynthesis. This is known as the c ompensat i on poi nt . At this point, the net CO

uptake ( or release ) is 0.

iv) Between points Y and Z, rate of photosynthesis is faster than rate of respiration. More CO
is taken in than given

Note: The net CO
uptake for photosynthesis at any time can be read from the graph. However, the total CO

uptake is the sum of the net CO
uptake and the amount of CO
released from respiration. The total
uptake can only be found if we assume that the CO
released from respiration is constant
throughout the day.

Biology notes Nutrition and Gas exchange in plants Page 3
An ex per i ment t o st udy t he ef f ec t of l i ght i nt ensi t y on CO2 ex c hange i n pl ant s

Work examples :

 At 0600 and 1800 hr, rate of PHS =respiration
( net uptake of O
=net release )
 Fastest rate of PHS at 0930 hr
 At 1200 hr, PHS rate drops because the light
intensity is too strong, some stomata may close
 After 1830 hr, no PHS
 Assume that the rate of respiration is constant,
Total amount of O
released at 1200 hr is
12 +44=56 mg
 Dark period =11 hr , rate of CO
released =12 mg/hr
 Amount of CO
released in the dark =12 x 11 =132 mg
 Assume that the rate of respiration is constant, the rate of
PHS at 0930 hr ( in terms of CO
uptake ) is
76 +12 =88 mg/ hr ( fastest )
 area A  area B  PHS rate  rate of respiration
 food production is faster than food oxidation
 positive growth due to accumulation of food

Set Condition Colour of indicator soltuion
A dark yellow ( CO
 0.03% )
B dim light red ( CO
 0.03% )
C strong light purple ( CO
 0.03% )
D as a control red