Chapter 37

Plant Nutrition

PowerPoint Lectures for Biology, Seventh Edition
Neil Campbell and Jane Reece

Lectures by Chris Romero
Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

• Overview: A Nutritional Network • Every organism
– Continually exchanges energy and materials with its environment

• For a typical plant
– Water and minerals come from the soil, while carbon dioxide comes from the air

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

• The branching root system and shoot system of a vascular plant
– Ensure extensive networking with both reservoirs of inorganic nutrients

Figure 37.1
Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

• Concept 37.1: Plants require certain chemical elements to complete their life cycle • Plants derive most of their organic mass from the CO2 of air
– But they also depend on soil nutrients such as water and minerals
CO2, the source of carbon for Photosynthesis, diffuses into leaves from the air through stomata. CO2 H2 O O2 Through stomata, leaves expel H2O and O2. Roots take in O2 and expel CO2. The plant uses O2 for cellular respiration but is a net O2 producer.

Minerals Roots absorb H2O and minerals from the soil.

O2 CO2 H2 O

Figure 37.2

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

Macronutrients and Micronutrients • More than 50 chemical elements
– Have been identified among the inorganic substances in plants, but not all of these are essential

• A chemical element is considered essential
– If it is required for a plant to complete a life cycle

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

• Researchers use hydroponic culture
– To determine which chemicals elements are essential
APPLICATION In hydroponic culture, plants are grown in mineral solutions without soil. One use of hydroponic culture is to identify essential elements in plants. TECHNIQUE Plant roots are bathed in aerated solutions of known mineral composition. Aerating the water provides the roots with oxygen for cellular respiration. A particular mineral, such as potassium, can be omitted to test whether it is essential.

Control: Solution containing all minerals

Experimental: Solution without potassium

Figure 37.3

RESULTS If the omitted mineral is essential, mineral deficiency symptoms occur, such as stunted growth and discolored leaves. Deficiencies of different elements may have different symptoms, which can aid in diagnosing mineral deficiencies in soil.

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

• Essential elements in plants

Table 37.1
Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

• Nine of the essential elements are called macronutrients
– Because plants require them in relatively large amounts

• The remaining eight essential elements are known as micronutrients
– Because plants need them in very small amounts

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

Symptoms of Mineral Deficiency • The symptoms of mineral deficiency
– Depend partly on the nutrient’s function – Depend on the mobility of a nutrient within the plant

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

• Deficiency of a mobile nutrient
– Usually affects older organs more than young ones

• Deficiency of a less mobile nutrient
– Usually affects younger organs more than older ones

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

• The most common deficiencies
– Are those of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus
Healthy

Phosphate-deficient

Potassium-deficient

Nitrogen-deficient

Figure 37.4
Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

• Concept 37.2: Soil quality is a major determinant of plant distribution and growth • Along with climate
– The major factors determining whether particular plants can grow well in a certain location are the texture and composition of the soil

• Texture
– Is the soil’s general structure

• Composition
– Refers to the soil’s organic and inorganic chemical components
Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

Texture and Composition of Soils • Various sizes of particles derived from the breakdown of rock are found in soil
– Along with organic material (humus) in various stages of decomposition

• The eventual result of this activity is topsoil
– A mixture of particles of rock and organic material

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

• The topsoil and other distinct soil layers, or horizons
– Are often visible in vertical profile where there is a road cut or deep hole
The A horizon is the topsoil, a mixture of broken-down rock of various textures, living organisms, and decaying organic matter. A B C The B horizon contains much less organic matter than the A horizon and is less weathered. The C horizon, composed mainly of partially broken-down rock, serves as the “parent” material for the upper layers of soil.

Figure 37.5
Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

• After a heavy rainfall, water drains away from the larger spaces of soil
– But smaller spaces retain water because of its attraction to surfaces of clay and other particles

• The film of loosely bound water
– Is usually available to plants
Soil particle surrounded by film of water Root hair

Water available to plant

Air space

Figure 37.6a

(a) Soil water. A plant cannot extract all the water in the soil because some of it is tightly held by hydrophilic soil particles. Water bound less tightly to soil particles can be absorbed by the root.

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

• Acids derived from roots contribute to a plant’s uptake of minerals
– When H+ displaces mineral cations from clay particles
Soil particle K
+

– – – – K+ H2CO3 – – –

– + K – Ca2+ H+

Cu2+

Mg2+

H2O + CO2

HCO3– + H+

Root hair

Figure 37.6b

(b) Cation exchange in soil. Hydrogen ions (H+) help make nutrients available by displacing positively charged minerals (cations such as Ca2+) that were bound tightly to the surface of negatively charged soil particles. Plants contribute H+ by secreting it from root hairs and also by cellular respiration, which releases CO2 into the soil solution, where it reacts with H2O to form carbonic acid (H2CO3). Dissociation of this acid adds H+ to the soil solution.

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

Soil Conservation and Sustainable Agriculture • In contrast to natural ecosystems
– Agriculture depletes the mineral content of the soil, taxes water reserves, and encourages erosion

• The goal of soil conservation strategies
– Is to minimize this damage

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

Fertilizers • Commercially produced fertilizers
– Contain minerals that are either mined or prepared by industrial processes

• “Organic” fertilizers
– Are composed of manure, fishmeal, or compost

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

• Agricultural researchers
– Are developing ways to maintain crop yields while reducing fertilizer use

• Genetically engineered “smart” plants
– Inform the grower when a nutrient deficiency is imminent

Figure 37.7

No phosphorus deficiency

Beginning phosphorus deficiency

Well-developed phosphorus deficiency

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

Irrigation • Irrigation, which is a huge drain on water resources when used for farming in arid regions
– Can change the chemical makeup of soil

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

Erosion • Topsoil from thousands of acres of farmland
– Is lost to water and wind erosion each year in the United States

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

• Certain precautions
– Can prevent the loss of topsoil

Figure 37.8
Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

• The goal of soil management
– Is sustainable agriculture, a commitment embracing a variety of farming methods that are conservation-minded

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

Soil Reclamation • Some areas are unfit for agriculture
– Because of contamination of soil or groundwater with toxic pollutants

• A new method known as phytoremediation
– Is a biological, nondestructive technology that seeks to reclaim contaminated areas

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

• Concept 37.3: Nitrogen is often the mineral that has the greatest effect on plant growth • Plants require nitrogen as a component of
– Proteins, nucleic acids, chlorophyll, and other important organic molecules

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

Soil Bacteria and Nitrogen Availability
• Nitrogen-fixing bacteria convert atmospheric N2
– To nitrogenous minerals that plants can absorb as a nitrogen source for organic synthesis
Atmosphere N2 Atmosphere Soil N2
Nitrogen-fixing bacteria H+ (From soil)

N2
Nitrate and nitrogenous organic compounds exported in xylem to shoot system NH4+ NO3– (nitrate)

Denitrifying bacteria

Soil

NH3 (ammonia) NH4+ (ammonium) Ammonifying bacteria Nitrifying bacteria

Organic material (humus)

Root

Figure 37.9
Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

Improving the Protein Yield of Crops • Agriculture research in plant breeding
– Has resulted in new varieties of maize, wheat, and rice that are enriched in protein

• Such research
– Addresses the most widespread form of human malnutrition: protein deficiency

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

• Concept 37.4: Plant nutritional adaptations often involve relationships with other organisms • Two types of relationships plants have with other organisms are mutualistic
– Symbiotic nitrogen fixation – Mycorrhizae

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

The Role of Bacteria in Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation

• Symbiotic relationships with nitrogen-fixing bacteria
– Provide some plant species with a built-in source of fixed nitrogen

• From an agricultural standpoint
– The most important and efficient symbioses between plants and nitrogen-fixing bacteria occur in the legume family (peas, beans, and other similar plants)

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

• Along a legumes possessive roots are swellings called nodules
– Composed of plant cells that have been “infected” by nitrogen-fixing Rhizobium bacteria

Nodules

Roots
(a) Pea plant root. The bumps on this pea plant root are nodules containing Rhizobium bacteria. The bacteria fix nitrogen and obtain photosynthetic products supplied by the plant.

Figure 37.10a

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

• Inside the nodule
– Rhizobium bacteria assume a form called bacteroids, which are contained within vesicles 5 µm formed by the root cell
Bacteroids within vesicle

Figure 37.10b
Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

(b) Bacteroids in a soybean root nodule. In this TEM, a cell from a root nodule of soybean is filled with bacteroids in vesicles. The cells on the left are uninfected.

• The bacteria of a nodule
– Obtain sugar from the plant and supply the plant with fixed nitrogen

• Each legume
– Is associated with a particular strain of Rhizobium

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

• Development of a soybean root nodule
1 Roots emit chemical signals that attract Rhizobium bacteria. The bacteria then emit signals that stimulate root hairs to elongate and to form an infection thread by an invagination of the plasma membrane. Infection thread Rhizobium bacteria Dividing cells in root cortex Bacteroid 1 2 Dividing cells in pericycle 2 The bacteria penetrate the cortex within the Infection thread. Cells of the cortex and pericycle begin dividing, and vesicles containing the bacteria bud into cortical cells from the branching infection thread. This process results in the formation of bacteroids.

Infected root hair

Developing root nodule 3 Bacteroid 3 Growth continues in the affected regions of the cortex and pericycle, and these two masses of dividing cells fuse, forming the nodule.

4 4 The nodule develops vascular tissue that supplies nutrients to the nodule and carries nitrogenous compounds into the vascular cylinder for distribution throughout the plant.

Figure 37.11

Bacteroid

Nodule vascular tissue

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

The Molecular Biology of Root Nodule Formation • The development of a nitrogen-fixing root nodule
– Depends on chemical dialogue between Rhizobium bacteria and root cells of their specific plant hosts

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation and Agriculture • The agriculture benefits of symbiotic nitrogen fixation
– Underlie crop rotation

• In this practice
– A non-legume such as maize is planted one year, and the following year a legume is planted to restore the concentration of nitrogen in the soil

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

Mycorrhizae and Plant Nutrition
• Mycorrhizae
– Are modified roots consisting of mutualistic associations of fungi and roots

• The fungus
– Benefits from a steady supply of sugar donated by the host plant

• In return, the fungus
– Increases the surface area of water uptake and mineral absorption and supplies water and minerals to the host plant
Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

The Two Main Types of Mycorrhizae
• In ectomycorrhizae
– The mycelium of the fungus forms a dense sheath over the surface of the root
a (a) Ectomycorrhizae. The mantle of the fungal mycelium ensheathes the root. Fungal hyphae extend from the mantle into the soil, absorbing water and minerals, especially phosphate. Hyphae also extend into the extracellular spaces of the root cortex, providing extensive surface area for nutrient exchange between the fungus and its host plant.

Epidermis

Cortex

Mantle (fungal sheath)

100 µm

Endodermis

Mantle (fungal sheath)

Fungal hyphae between cortical cells

(colorized SEM)

Figure 37.12a

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

• In endomycorrhizae
– Microscopic fungal hyphae extend into the root
2 Endomycorrhizae. No mantle (b) forms around the root, but microscopic fungal hyphae extend into the root. Within the root cortex, the fungus makes extensive contact with the plant through branching of hyphae that form arbuscules, providing an enormous surface area for nutrient swapping. The hyphae penetrate the cell walls, but not the plasma membranes, of cells within the cortex.

Epidermis

Cortex

Cortical cells

10 µm

Endodermis Fungal hyphae Vesicle Casparian strip Root hair Arbuscules (LM, stained specimen)

Figure 37.12b

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

Agricultural Importance of Mycorrhizae • Farmers and foresters
– Often inoculate seeds with spores of mycorrhizal fungi to promote the formation of mycorrhizae

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

Epiphytes, Parasitic Plants, and Carnivorous Plants

• Some plants
– Have nutritional adaptations that use other organisms in nonmutualistic ways

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings

• Exploring unusual nutritional adaptations in plants
EPIPHYTES

Staghorn fern, an epiphyte

PARASITIC PLANTS
Host’s phloem Dodder Haustoria

Mistletoe, a photosynthetic parasite

Dodder, a nonphotosynthetic parasite

Indian pipe, a nonphotosynthetic parasite

CARNIVOROUS PLANTS

Figure 37.13

Venus’ flytrap

Pitcher plants

Sundews

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings