Authored by: Philippe Hinsinger

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:


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Potassium (atomic weight = 39.098) is an alkaline metal, as revealed by the etymology of its symbol (K) which derives from the Latin word “kalium” and from the Arabic word “qali” (alkali). K is thus strongly electropositive and always occurs as a monovalent cation. Consequently, its physico-chemistry and speciation are rather simple. K is an abundant alkaline metal cation, reaching a concentration of 26 g kg–1 in the Earth’s crust. It is a major nutrient for all living organisms.

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