Nutrient Interactions in Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition

Authored by: William L. Pan

Handbook of Soil Sciences Resource Management and Environmental Impacts

Print publication date:  November  2011
Online publication date:  November  2011

Print ISBN: 9781439803073
eBook ISBN: 9781439803080
Adobe ISBN:


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Nutrients interact during numerous biological, physical, or chemical processes along the soil–root–shoot continuum such that the level of one nutrient alters the availability, uptake, or plant response to another nutrient (Zhang et al., 2006). Given the very nature of ionic balance in plant nutrition and the ionic interactions in soil chemistry and fertility, virtually all soil–plant processes involve nutrient interactions, making a comprehensive review a boundless task. This review will focus on key concepts and provide examples to illustrate them. The availability and flow of any given nutrient through the continuum are constantly influenced by the activity and form of other nutrients, and the nature and rate of these interactions are sufficiently complex that they are sometimes beyond our current ability to measure and quantify their impacts. The nutrient interactions that are most often recognized and documented have for the most part been observed in soil fertility experiments that characterize crop nutrient uptake and growth response to one or more nutrients added to the system. Thus, this review will focus on the examples of nutrient and other elemental (e.g., heavy metals) interactions documented in the soil fertility literature, with subsequent discussion of plausible chemical and biological mechanisms of those same interactions along the soil–root–shoot continuum as described in the soil chemistry, soil microbiology, and plant nutrition literature.

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