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Are you using the best nutrients for your crops?

The growth of plants is supported by a number of nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. In addition to these primary elements, there are many micronutrients required by plants. Micronutrients include iron, copper, zinc and boron among others. These minerals are necessary for normal plant development and function but can be limiting factors for crop production because they are less abundant in soils than macronutrients such as nitrogen or phosphorous. Many studies have been conducted across the globe to determine how best to amend soils with micronutrients so that crop yields can be improved through increased yield potential and better quality produce harvested from healthy plants grown in soil amended with these essential plant nutrients.


Plant-available micronutrients are widely used to support crop health.


Plant-available micronutrients are widely used to support crop health. Micronutrient deficiencies can have a negative impact on crop production, so it is important to be sure that your crops have enough of these essential elements. Micronutrients are also important for plant growth and development, so they may be used in conjunction with other nutrients such as calcium or boron (B).

When purchasing fertilizer for your fields or gardens, it's best to consult an expert who can help you determine what nutrients are needed for your specific situation and then recommend the best products available on the market today.


Soil microbe-produced metabolites impact micronutrient uptake and availability.


Soil microbes produce a variety of metabolites that can impact the uptake and availability of micronutrients. For example, mycorrhizal fungi (fungi that live symbiotically with plant roots) produce exudates that contain amino acids, simple sugars and organic acids. These exudates are known to affect mineral nutrition by stimulating the production of rhizosphere enzymes that aid in plant growth while also enhancing nutrient uptake through increased root surface area and enhanced root hairs.


A metabolite study was conducted to determine if the conversion of sulfate and chloride micronutrients to their respective metabolites would impact bioavailability and/or mobility in soil.


A metabolite study was conducted to determine if the conversion of sulfate and chloride micronutrients to their respective metabolites would impact bioavailability and/or mobility in soil. Aqueous solutions of sulfate were incubated with three different soils (Typic Hapludalfs, Vertisol and Cambisol) for one year. At various times throughout the experiment, samples were taken for analysis by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES). Results showed that over 90% of added sulfate was retained after one year in all three soils under study. Sulfate concentrations increased as a result of microbial activity during this time period but did not reach concentrations associated with toxicity issues for plants grown on these same soils.


Conversion of micronutrients may not result in a corresponding increase in plant-available nutrient content due to enhanced or diminished microbial activity or other factors


It's important to remember that the conversion of micronutrients may not result in a corresponding increase in plant-available nutrient content due to enhanced or diminished microbial activity or other factors. This means that it's not just about picking the right nutrients for your plants--you also need to pay attention to what effect those nutrients have on soil biology.


This study revealed that the conversion of micronutrients to their respective metabolites may not result in a corresponding increase in plant-available nutrient content due to enhanced or diminished microbial activity or other factors. The findings also demonstrate that more research is needed before we can fully understand how microbes affect plant uptake of micronutrients and what impacts this has on crop production.

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