Mineralization

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Introduction

Nitrogen is considered an essential element for the development of field crops. When Nitrogen is deficient, the root systems and plant growth is stunted, the older leaves turn yellow and the crop is low in crude protein. Too much Nitrogen content in the soil can delay the process of maturity and can cause excessive vegetative growth at the expense of grain yield. Nitrogen fertilizer is very much expensive and losses that occurred due to this can tend to cause harmful situations to the environment. The mineralisation process is found in the nitrogen cycle.


What is Mineralization?

Mineralisation is the process of conversion of chemical compounds into organic matter in simple words we can call it decomposition. The examples include biological mineralization, bone mineralization, mineralization of soil, Organomineralization, inorganic mineralization, etc. 


Mineralization Meaning

The mineralization definition can vary depending on the type of mineralization that is taking place,

In terms of bone, it is defined as the process in which the organic bone matrix is filled by the nanocrystal of calcium phosphate that occurs in a highly specific order. This process is carried out by osteoblasts and filled by an osteoid matrix. This osteoid matrix is a composition of type I collagen fibres that are arranged in micro and macro structures to form a bone.

Biomineralization can be defined as the process in which living organisms produce a certain type of minerals to harden the existing structure of tissues. Such types of tissues are called mineralized tissues.


Factors that Affect the Rate of Mineralization are:

  1. The mineral content and the organic matter that is present in the soil.

  2. The pH, temperature, and water content present in the soil.

  3. Type of the soil.

  4. In an acidic environment, the process takes place slowly.

  5. The mineralization process can increase in warm conditions, and it will vary according to the seasons.

  6. The process is increased by legume crops as the nitrogen-fixing bacteria is present in the roots of those plants.

Difference Between Mineralization and Immobilization

The difference between mineralization and immobilization are as follows,

Mineralization

Immobilization

Mineralization definition is the process of conversion of chemical compounds into organic matter.

It is the reverse process of mineralization as all living beings require nitrogen to survive hence the microorganisms present in the soil compete with the crops for the required nitrogen. The process of intake of nitrate and ammonium from soil makes the soil lose its nitrogen.


These two processes are interlinked, the immobilization process locks up the nitrogen, and when the microorganisms die the nitrogen content present in the cells of these organisms is converted into nitrate that is available for plants by a process called mineralization.

By increasing the soil organic matter with legume residues can achieve more rapid mineralization. The rate of mineralization may be high in summer and autumn as those legume residues are depleted. This means that in the following crop, the rate of mineralization is the same or less in the soil with no legumes. Growers need to keep this in mind when budgeting fertilizer application rates.

The weather conditions that affect the process of mineralization can also show its effect on the Nitrogen losses, such as the leaching process is greatest in the wet winters on sandy soil, and denitrification is the loss of soil nitrate as nitrogen gas, mostly on saturated heavy soils in summer. Hence the growers have to concentrate on increasing nitrogen use efficiency by determining the optimum Nitrogen application rates and timings rather than concentrating on specific losses.


Conclusion

The process of conversion of organic compounds into inorganic compounds by various methods of decomposition. 

For example, when the crystal morphology, growth, composition, and location is completely controlled by the cellular processes of an organism then the biologically controlled mineralization or biomineralization happens.

The amount of nitrogen mineralization depends on the three factors, they are:

  • Nitrogen content in the soil.

  • Temperature.

  • Water content in the soil.

During the growing stage, the amount of mineralization is predictable and they can be estimated in a period. Research shows that retaining the stubble on the surface of the soil does not increase the mineralization process. The mineralization process is not greatly increased by the cultivation in regions of Australia, in contrast to soils in western Europe and North America where disturbance by cultivation causes a large increase. Measurements in Australia show little effect, which can be attributed to our light cultivation techniques. 

Referring to this article will help you solve some of the questions such as what is mineralization? Define mineralisation and many more.