Table of Contents
Nutrition in Plants
Plants are able to produce their own food through a process called photosynthesis, which occurs in the chloroplasts of plant cells. During photosynthesis, energy from sunlight is used to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose (a type of sugar) and oxygen.
Plants also need certain nutrients in order to grow and thrive. These nutrients can be obtained through the soil, water, and air. The primary nutrients that plants need are:
- Carbon – Carbon is a vital element for plants as it is a major component of carbohydrates, which are used for energy and cell structure. Carbon dioxide is absorbed from the air through the process of photosynthesis.
- Nitrogen – Nitrogen is essential for the synthesis of proteins and other important compounds in plants. It is absorbed from the soil in the form of nitrates and nitrites.
- Phosphorus – Phosphorus is important for the development of strong roots, flowers, seeds and is involved in the synthesis of DNA and RNA. It is also necessary for the synthesis of ATP, the energy molecule used by plants.It is often found in the form of phosphates in the soil.
- Calcium – This element is important for the growth and development of plant cells and is involved in the synthesis of cell walls and membranes. It is often found in the form of calcium ions in the soil.
- Potassium – Potassium is involved in the regulation of water balance, enzyme activity, and the synthesis of proteins and starches.
- Magnesium – Magnesium is necessary for the synthesis of chlorophyll, the pigment responsible for photosynthesis. It is also involved in the production of ATP and the synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids.It is often found in the form of magnesium ions in the soil.
In addition to these primary nutrients, plants also need trace minerals such as iron, zinc, and copper. These minerals are often found in small amounts in the soil and are essential for the proper growth and development of plants but can be deficient in certain areas, leading to deficiencies in plants.
Also Check – Where do Plants get each of the Raw Materials required for Photosynthesis
3 Important Types of Nutrition in Plants
There are three main types of nutrition in plants:
- Autotrophic Nutrition: This is when plants produce their own food through the process of photosynthesis. They use energy from the sun, water, and carbon dioxide from the air to produce glucose, which is then used for energy and growth.
- Heterotrophic Nutrition: This is when plants obtain their nutrients from external sources, such as through symbiotic relationships with fungi or bacteria or by obtaining nutrients from dead organic matter.
- Parasitic Nutrition: This is when plants obtain nutrients from living organisms, often by attaching themselves to the host plant and extracting nutrients from its tissues.
Also Check – What is Holozoic Nutrition?
Also Check – Holozoic Nutrition Example
Autotrophic Nutrition in Plants
Autotrophic nutrition refers to the process by which plants produce their own food using energy from Sunlight and Inorganic Raw materials.
Autotrophic Nutrition is important for plants because it allows them to produce their own food and survive in environments where there is little or no access to other sources of nutrients. It also plays a crucial role in the carbon cycle, as plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into organic matter. This helps to regulate the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and mitigate the effects of climate change. It is also important for the entire ecosystem, as plants provide a source of food for animals and contribute to the production of oxygen in the atmosphere.
2 Important Types of Autotrophic Nutrition in Plants
There are two main types of Autotrophic Nutrition in Plants –
Also Check – 2 Important Types of Autotrophic Nutrition
- Photosynthesis is the process by which plants use energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose (a type of sugar) and oxygen. This process occurs in the chloroplasts, which are found in the cells of the plant’s leaves.
- During the process of photosynthesis, the plant absorbs light energy and uses it to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose through a series of chemical reactions. Oxygen is produced as a byproduct of photosynthesis .
- Plants need a variety of nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, to support this process and grow properly. Without sufficient nutrients, plants will have reduced photosynthetic rates and may get more susceptible to diseases and pests.
- Photosynthesis is essential for the survival of plants, as it provides them with the energy for their Grow and Reproduce.
Chemosynthesis is a type of autotrophic nutrition which occurs in certain types of bacteria and archaea, and involves the use of energy from chemical reactions to produce food. Chemosynthesis doesnt require sunlight and can occur in environments where light is not available, such as in the deep sea or in underground caves. Some plants like species of mangroves and cycads able to obtain energy through chemosynthesis in addition to photosynthesis.
Also Check – Steps of Photosynthesis
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Heterotrophic Nutrition in Plants
Heterotrophic Nutrition in plants refers to the process by which plants obtain their nutrients from external sources rather than producing them through photosynthesis. This can occur through several methods, including:
- Parasitism – In this type of nutrition, plants derive their nutrients from living hosts, such as other plants or animals. The plant secretes enzymes that break down the host tissue and absorbs the nutrients. Examples of parasitic plants include mistletoe and dodder.
- Saprophytism– This type of nutrition occurs when plants obtain nutrients from dead organic matter, such as fallen leaves or animal carcasses. The plants secrete enzymes that break down the organic matter into simpler compounds, which are then absorbed by the plant. Examples of saprophytic plants include fungi and certain species of orchids.
- Symbiosis – Some plants, such as legumes, form symbiotic relationships with nitrogen-fixing bacteria in their roots, allowing them to obtain nitrogen from the atmosphere.
- Mycotrophic nutrition– This type of nutrition occurs when plants form symbiotic relationships with fungi, in which the fungi provide the plant with nutrients in exchange for a carbohydrate source. The fungi colonize the plant’s root system and form a mycorrhiza, which allows the plant to absorb nutrients from the soil more efficiently. Examples of mycotrophic plants include pine trees and certain species of orchids.
Overall, heterotrophic nutrition in plants is important because it allows them to survive in nutrient-poor environments or when they are unable to produce sufficient nutrients through photosynthesis.
Also Check – 10 Important Differences between Autotrophic Nutrition and Heterotrophic Nutrition
Types of Heterotrophic Plants
- Carnivorous plants – These plants obtain nutrients from other living organisms, typically insects, by trapping and consuming them. Examples include Venus flytrap, pitcher plant, and sundew.
- Parasitic plants – These plants rely on other plants or animals for their nutrition and water needs. They do not produce their own food through photosynthesis and instead derive their sustenance from their host plants or animals. Examples include mistletoe, dodder, and broomrape.
- Saprophytic plants – These plants obtain their nutrients from dead and decaying organic matter. They do not require sunlight or photosynthesis to survive and are often found in areas with limited light, such as forests under the canopy or in caves. Examples include mushrooms, toadstools, and truffles.
- Myco-heterotrophic plants – These plants are similar to saprophytic plants in that they obtain nutrients from fungi, but they also have the ability to photosynthesize. They form symbiotic relationships with fungi, allowing them to obtain both nutrients and energy from the sun. Examples include Indian pipe and certain orchids.
Parasitic Nutrition in Plants
Parasitic nutrition in plants refers to the way that some plants obtain nutrients from other plants. These plants are called parasites, and they use specialized organs called haustoria to penetrate the host plant and draw out water and nutrients.
There are two main types of Parasitic Plants:
- Holoparasites – Holoparasites are completely dependent on their host plant for nutrients and do not have chlorophyll, meaning they do not photosynthesize.
- Hemiparasites – Hemiparasites are able to photosynthesize but still rely on their host plant for additional nutrients.
Some examples of parasitic plants include mistletoe, dodder, and the redseed plant. These plants can have negative impacts on their host plant, potentially causing damage and reducing the host plant’s ability to grow and thrive.