Mineral Nutrition

What is Mineral Nutrition?

Mineral Nutrition is known as a naturally occurring inorganic nutrient. It can be found in the soil and food and it is vital for the able functioning of animal and plant bodies. Minerals are the vital elements which allow a body to grow and to survive. Minerals are essentially needed by both plants and animals. For example zinc is needed for cell division and for the production of protein.


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Role of Nutrients

Following are listed some important roles that nutrients play:-

  • Balancing Function: Some salts or minerals act against the harmful effects of the other nutrients hence balance the effect of each other.

  • Maintenance of Osmotic Pressure: In few minerals the cell sap is present in organic or inorganic form,  to control the organic pressure of the cell.

  • Influencing The pH of The Cell Sap: Different anions and cations have different influences on the pH of the cell sap.

  • Construction of The Plant Body: Some of the elements which help to construct the plant body are Carbon, Nitrogen and Oxygen. They help by entering the protoplasm and constitution of the wall.

  • Catalysis of The Biochemical Reaction: Zinc, magnesium, calcium, and copper act as metallic catalysts in biochemical reactions.

  • Effects of Toxicity: Under specific conditions, minerals like arsenic and copper have a toxic effect on the protoplasm.


Micronutrients

Micronutrients are the nutrients required by plants in very small proportions. Some of them are Boron, iron, chlorine, and molybdenum are some of the examples of micronutrients.


Importance of Micronutrients

Following are listed some important functions of micronutrients in particular:-


Copper

  • It is responsible for activating the enzymes as a component of oxidase, cytochrome oxidase, phenolases, and ascorbic acid oxidase.

  •  It as well plays a vital role in photophosphorylation.

  • Copper helps to balance carbohydrate-nitrogen regulation.

Manganese

  • It is required in photosynthesis.

  • Manganese is needed in the synthesis of chlorophyll.

  • It also acts as an activator of nitrogen metabolism.

Zinc

  • It is essentially required for the synthesis of tryptophan, metabolism of carbohydrates,

        and phosphorus.

  • Zinc is a constituent of enzymes like alcohol dehydrate-gas, carbonic anhydrase, lactic dehydrogenase, hexokinase, and carboxypeptidase.


Macronutrients

Macronutrients are the nutrients required by plants in larger proportions. These may include sulfur, nitrogen, carbon, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.


Importance of Macronutrients 

Following are some of the vital functions performed by macronutrients in particular:-


Phosphorous

  • Phosphorus helps to boost the process of fruit ripening and root growth in a healthy manner by helping the translocation of carbohydrates.

  • Phosphorus is found abundantly in fruits and seeds.

  • Premature fall of leaves and colour turning to purplish or dark green is due to deficiency of phosphorus.

Nitrogen

  • Nitrogen is present in various coenzymes, hormones, and ATP, etc.

  • It is a vital constituent of vitamins, nucleic acids, proteins, and many others.

  • The complete suppression of flowering and fruiting, impaired growth, and development of anthocyanin pigmentation in stems is due to deficiency of nitrogen.


Potassium

Potassium is the only monovalent cation that is necessary for plants which acts as an enzyme activator including DNA polymerase. The deficiency of potassium leads to Mottled chlorosis.


Following are the important difference between macronutrients and micronutrients:-

Difference between Micronutrients and Macronutrients

Micro-nutrients

Macronutrients

Requirements

Required in minute quantities.

Required in large quantities.

Functions

Play a crucial role in the prevention of diseases.

Play a crucial role in providing energy.

Consequences of Deficiency

Deficiency results in Anemia, Scurvy, Goiter, etc.

Deficiency results in Malnutrition, Kwashiorkor, marasmus, etc.

Consequences of Overconsumption

Overconsumption of Vitamins can have hazardous effects on the liver and nerve.

Overconsumption of macronutrients results in cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, etc.

Concentration

Available in a minute inside the body. Less than 1 mg/gm.

Available in high concentration inside the body. Equal to 1 mg or 1000 microgram.

Composition

Also called trace elements.

Also called as major elements.

Types

vitamins, minerals and trace elements.

carbohydrate, protein and fats.

Examples

Antioxidants, Minerals, and Vitamins are examples of macronutrients.

Proteins, fibre, carbohydrates, and fats are examples of micronutrients.

Sources

Found in vegetables, fruits, green leafy vegetables, eggs etc.

Are found abundantly in cereals, legumes, meat, fish, yams, potatoes, nuts, oilseeds, etc.

Advantages

Micro-nutrients contribute to body growth and disease prevention.

Provides energy required for the metabolic system.



Did you know?!

Milk is 87% water. The nutrients, like protein, carbohydrate, vitamins, and minerals are all found in the other 13%.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Why are vitamins and minerals important in our everyday Food?

Vitamins and minerals are one of the most important components of our food, they help keep our body healthy, functional, and as well protect us from a variety of diseases,  they hold the same importance as air and water for living. Vitamins can be defined as the organic substance that is produced by plants or animals. Whereas minerals are the inorganic elements that originate from rocks, soil or water.

2. What vitamins and minerals are needed Daily?

Following listed are vitamins and their food source:-

Water-soluble vitamins:

B-1: ham, soymilk, watermelon, oats, oranges, pork, peas. 

B-2: low-fat milk, yoghurt, cheese, grains, organ meats, cereals.

B-3: meat, fish, fortified and whole grains, mushrooms, potatoes.

B-5: chicken, whole grains, broccoli, mushrooms.

B-6: meat, fish, poultry, tofu, bananas.

B-7: Whole grains, eggs, soybeans, fish.

B-9: Fortified grains and cereals, spinach, broccoli, orange juice.

B-12: Meat, fish, milk, cheese, tofu, cereals 

Vitamin C: Potatoes, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes.

Fat-soluble vitamins:

Vitamin A: beef, eggs, fish, carrots, spinach, mangoes.

Vitamin D: Fortified milk and cereals, fatty fish.

Vitamin E: Vegetable oils, grains, broccoli, and green vegetables

Vitamin K: Cabbage, eggs, milk, spinach, broccoli, Kale.

Mineral sources

Following are some minerals and their sources:-

Major:

Calcium: yoghurt, cheese, milk, leafy green vegetables.

Chloride: salt.

Magnesium: Spinach, broccoli, seeds, whole-wheat bread.

Potassium: meat, milk, fruits, vegetables, grains.

Sodium: salt, soy sauce, vegetables.

Chromium: meat, poultry, fish, cheese.

Copper:  seeds, whole-grain products, beans, prunes.

Iodine: Iodized salt, seafood.

Iron: Poultry, red meat, eggs, fruits, fortified bread.

Manganese: nuts, whole grains.

Selenium: Organ meat, seafood, walnuts.

Zinc: meat, shellfish, legumes, whole grains.