Along with nitrogen and phosphorus, potassium (K) is one of the three important macronutrients for plants that they require to survive. Potassium will be present in the soil, ready for plants to absorb the comparatively substantial amounts of the nutrient they need, if potassium-based fertilisers are chosen and used.
Potassium boosts crop yields and enhances the quality of agricultural products while also boosting plants’ resistance to pests, diseases, cold, drought, and other challenges. Potassium improves the efficiency of the uptake and utilisation of nitrogen and other nutrients by assisting in the development of robust and healthy root systems.
Potassium and Animal Nutrition
And people as well as plants gain from this. Potassium is important in livestock nutrition because it enhances the nutritional content of feeds intended for animal nutrition, such as grassland and forage crops.
Many Roles of Potassium in Plants
The various functions that potassium plays in plants account for its significance:
- PMore than sixty enzymatic systems in plant cells are activated by potassium, and it also plays a role in the production of proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, and cellulose, all of which are necessary for healthy plant metabolism, growth, and tissue development.
- Potassium facilitates photosynthesis, the process by which the carbohydrates and energy required for plant growth are created and transformed.
- The leaf stomata’s ability to open and close is controlled by potassium, which also manages the plant’s water balance.
- It is crucial for the creation and movement of sugars as well as the generation of starch. Because of this, potassium is especially important in crops high in carbohydrates like sugarcane, potatoes, and sugar beetroot.
- The symbiotic bacteria that live on the roots of legumes are benefited by the increased starch and sugar synthesis caused by potassium, which enhances nitrogen fixation.
- Potassium improves crop quality while also boosting yields. By boosting the amounts of protein and oil in seeds, starch in seeds and tubers, and sugar and vitamin C in fruits, it enhances the nutritional value of grains, tubers, and fruits.
- When given enough potassium, cereals have sturdy stalks and hefty grains that are resistant to lodging.
- Fruits’ flavour, colour, and size are all enhanced by potassium, which also makes tubers and fruits bigger.
- Additionally, it strengthens the product’s resilience to different traumas sustained during storage and transit, hence extending the shelf life.
Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency
Potassium deficiency affects plants in a number of ways. Potassium-deficient plants are more likely to ‘lodge’ or bend over at the ground level, making them challenging to harvest. A lack of potassium also makes plants more prone to illness.
Because potassium is mobile in plants, the lower and older leaves first display signs of potassium deficit. The older leaves visually have scorched edges.
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