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    Default Symptoms of Deficiency in Essential Minerals

    Symptoms of Deficiency in Essential Minerals

    Wade Berry, UCLA

    Introduction

    Visual nutrient deficiency symptoms can be a very powerful diagnostic tool for evaluating the nutrient status of plants. One should keep in mind, however, that a given individual visual symptom is seldom sufficient to make a definitive diagnosis of a plant s nutrient status. Many of the classic deficiency symptoms such as tip burn, chlorosis and necrosis are characteristically associated with more than one mineral deficiency and also with other stresses that by themselves are not diagnostic for any specific nutrient stress. However, their detection is extremely useful in making an evaluation of nutrient status. In addition to the actual observations of morphological and spectral symptoms, knowing the location and timing of these symptoms is a critical aspect of any nutrient status evaluation. Plants do not grow in isolation, they are part of the overall environment and as such they respond to environmental changes as that affect nutrient availability. Also, plants do influence their environment and can contribute to environmental changes, which in turn can affect the nutrient status of the plant.
    Sources of Visual Symptoms

    Stresses such as salinity, pathogens, and air pollution induce their own characteristic set of visual symptoms. Often, these symptoms closely resemble those of nutrient deficiency. Pathogens often produce an interveinal chlorosis, and air pollution and salinity stress can cause tip burn. Although at first these symptoms might seem similar in their general appearance to nutrient deficiency symptoms, they do differ in detail and/or in their overall developmental pattern. Pathological symptoms can often be separated from nutritional symptoms by their distribution in a population of affected plants. If the plants are under a nutrient stress, all plants of a given type and age in the same environment tend to develop similar symptoms at the same time. However if the stress is the result of pathology, the development of symptoms will have a tendency to vary between plants until a relatively advanced stage of the pathology is reached.
    Environmental Associations

    Plants remove substantial amounts of nutrients from the soil during their normal growth cycle and many long-term environmental changes occur as a result of this process. Effects on the soil go considerably beyond the straight removal or depletion of nutrients. Charge balance must be maintained in the plant-soil system during nutrient uptake. Charge balance is usually achieved by the excretion of proton and/or hydroxyl ions by the plant to replace the absorbed nutrient cations or anions. For example when plants are fertilized with ammonia, they acquire most of their nitrogen in the form of the ammonium cation, rather than from the usual nitrate anion. Because nitrate is the only anion used by the plant in large amounts, the net result of this change is that during normal nutrient uptake the proton excretion will far exceed that of hydroxyl ions. In the case of vigorously growing plants, the amount of excreted protons can be sufficiently large as to decrease the pH of the soil by several pH units. Changes in soil pH of such magnitude can have large implications for a number of soil processes such as soil structure, nutrient availability and leaching of nutrients. The immediate effect on the soil may be favorable for some plants, especially acid-loving plants, in that it tends to make iron more available. However, in the long run, lowering the soil pH can be deleterious to plants in that the availability of nutrients will change. A lower soil pH will allow micronutrients to be more readily leached from the soil profile, eventually resulting in deficiencies of nutrients such as Cu and Zn. Additionally, when the pH of the soil drops much below pH 5, the solubility of Al and Mn can increase to such an extent as to become toxic to most plant growth (see textbook Figure 5.5).
    Plants are often thought of as passive in relation to the environment. However this is not always a valid assumption; for there are many plants that clearly manipulate their environment in a fashion that tends to makes certain nutrients more readily available. For example, iron is a limiting nutrient in many agricultural areas, but it comprises about 3% of the average soil which, if available, would be far in excess of the needs of the average plant. Some plants actively excrete protons, and the resulting decrease in pH increases the solubility of iron in their environment. In addition, other plants excrete phytosiderophores that chelate the soil iron rendering it a more available form for the plants (see p. 363 of the textbook).
    Pathways of Symptom Development

    At first glance, it would appear that the distinction of deficiency symptoms for the 13 known essential mineral nutrients should be relatively simple. But such an assumption is incorrect. In fact, the deficiency symptoms are quite complex because each nutrient has a number of different biological functions and each function may have an independent set of interactions with a wide range of environmental parameters. In addition, the expression of these symptoms varies for acute or chronic deficiency conditions. Acute deficiency occurs when a nutrient is suddenly no longer available to a rapidly growing plant. Chronic deficiency occurs when there is a limited but continuous supply of a nutrient, at a rate that is insufficient to meet the growth demands of the plant.
    Most of the classic deficiency symptoms described in textbooks are characteristic of acute deficiencies. The most common symptoms of low-grade, chronic deficiencies are a tendency towards darker green leaves and stunted or slow growth. Typically most published descriptions of deficiency symptoms arise from experiments conducted in greenhouses or growth chambers where the plants are grown in hydroponics or in media where the nutrients are fully available. In these conditions, nutrients are readily available while present, but when a nutrient is depleted, the plant suddenly faces an acute deficiency. Thus, hydroponic studies favor the development of acute deficiencies.
    In experiments designed to study micronutrient deficiency symptoms, micronutrients are usually omitted from the nutrient solution. Micronutrients are often present in the seed or as contaminants in the environment, so a plant of adequate size will exhaust these trace amounts of micronutrient and develop characteristic acute deficiency systems. When deficiency symptoms of macronutrients are sought, the macronutrient is removed suddenly from a suitable sized rapidly growing plant. Alternatively the plant can initially be given a one-time supply of the nutrient that is sufficient for a limited amount of growth. Because macronutrients are continuously required in relatively large amounts by rapidly growing plants, the available nutrients will be rapidly depleted, resulting in an acute deficiency.
    In natural systems, the plant encounters many degrees and types of stresses that result in different types of symptoms occurring over time. Perhaps the most common nutrient deficiency in natural environments is the case of a limited nutrient supply that is continuously renewed at a low rate from soil weathering processes. In such cases, the limited nutrient availability results in chronic nutrient deficiency symptoms.
    Effect of Nutrient Mobility on Symptom Development

    The interaction between nutrient mobility in the plant, and plant growth rate can be a major factor influencing the type and location of deficiency symptoms that develop. For very mobile nutrients such as nitrogen and potassium, deficiency symptoms develop predominantly in the older and mature leaves. This is a result of these nutrients being preferentially mobilized during times of nutrient stress from the older leaves to the newer leaves near the growing regions of the plant. Additionally, mobile nutrients newly acquired by the roots are also preferentially translocated to new leaves and the growing regions. Thus old and mature leaves are depleted of mobile nutrients during times of stress while the new leaves are maintained at a more favorable nutrient status.
    The typical localization of deficiency symptoms of very weakly mobile nutrients such as calcium, boron, and iron is the opposite to that of the mobile nutrients; these deficiency symptoms are first displayed in the growing regions and new leaves while the old leaves remain in a favorable nutrient status. (This assumes that these plants started with sufficient nutrient, but ran out of nutrient as they developed). In plants growing very slowly for reasons other than nutrition (such as low light) a normally limiting supply of a nutrient could, under these conditions, be sufficient for the plant to slowly develop, maybe even without symptoms. This type of development is likely to occur in the case of weakly mobile nutrients because excess nutrients in the older leaves will eventually be mobilized to supply newly developing tissues. In contrast, a plant with a similar supply that is growing rapidly will develop severe deficiencies in the actively growing tissue such as leaf edges and the growing region of the plant. A classic example of this is calcium deficiency in vegetables such as lettuce where symptoms develop on the leaf margins (tip burn) and the growing region near the meristems. The maximal growth rate of lettuce is often limited by the internal translocation rate of calcium to the growing tissue rather than from a limited nutrient supply in the soil.
    When moderately mobile nutrients such as sulfur and magnesium are the limiting nutrients of the system, deficiency symptoms are normally seen over the entire plant. However the growth rate and rate of nutrient availability can make a considerable difference on the locations at which the symptoms develop. If the nutrient supply is marginal compared to the growth rate, symptoms will appear on the older tissue, but if the nutrient supply is very low compared to the growth rate, or the nutrient is totally depleted, the younger tissue will become deficient first.
    Plant Competition and Induced Deficiencies

    When the observed symptoms are the direct result of a nutrient deficiency, the actions needed for correction are relatively straight-forward. However symptoms are often the result of interactions with other environmental factors limiting the availability of the nutrient whose symptoms are expressed. The classic instance is that of iron deficiency induced by an excess of heavy metals in the environment. Transition metals such as Cu, Zn Cr and Ni compete with Fe and each other for plant uptake. Competition for uptake is not specific to Fe and heavy metals but is true for all mineral nutrients that are chemically similar and have similar uptake mechanisms. For example if the availability of Cu or Zn is relatively less than that of Fe, then excessive concentrations of some other metal such as Ni or Cr will induce a deficiency of one of these nutrients rather than Fe. In the case of the macronutrients, excessive amounts of Mg will compete with K for uptake and can possibly induce a K deficiency. The barrenness of serpentine soils is the result of such competition, with the high Mg of these soils inducing a Ca deficiency. The toxicity of a low pH soil is another example of a basic nutrient deficiency. Low pH has a two-fold effect on soil nutrients: It enhances the leaching of cations, reducing their availability in the soil, and the relatively abundant protons in the soil compete with Ca and other cations for uptake. Thus, nutrient deficiencies can be induced by a number of different mechanisms often working in concert to limit the availability of a nutrient.
    Nutrient Demand and Use Efficiency

    Although all plants of the same species respond similarly to nutrient stress, plants of similar species will often show significant differences in their nutrient use efficiency. This results from differences in growth rate, root distribution, phase of development, and efficiency of nutrient uptake and utilization. This implies that in any given location, plants from one species may become nutrient-deficient, while those from another species growing in the same environment right next to them, may not show any deficiency symptoms.
    Growth rate also affects nutrient status. When the nutrient supply is barely inadequate for growth under existing environmental conditions, many plants adjust their growth rate to match that supported by the available nutrient supply without displaying typical visual deficiency symptoms.
    Agricultural systems differ from natural systems in that crop plants have been selected primarily for rapid growth under low stress conditions. This rapid growth rate results in a high nutrient demand by these plants and a higher incidence of nutrient deficiency unless supplemental fertilizers are supplied. It is not uncommon to find agricultural crops showing severe signs of nutrient stress, with native plants growing in the same area showing little or no indication of nutrient stress. In agriculture systems chronic deficiency symptoms develop mostly in crops with little or limited fertilization. Acute nutrient deficiency symptoms most often occur when new crops with a higher nutrient demand are introduced, or less productive lands are brought under cultivation for the production of rapidly growing crop plants.
    Uniformity of Nutrient Status

    Not all tissues of a plant are at the same nutrient status during times of stress. Leaves on the same plant that are exposed to different environmental conditions, (such as light), or those of different ages may have considerable differences in nutrient status. Mineral nutrients are for the most part acquired by the roots and translocated throughout the plant. The distance of any part of the plant to the roots will influence nutrient availability, particularly in the case of the less mobile nutrients. In plants recovering from nutrient deficiency, the root and conductive tissues recover first. For example, in the case of recovery from Fe deficiency, it is common to see the veins re-green while the interveinal tissue remains chlorotic and Fe-deficient.
    In order to maintain rapid, optimal growth, all plant tissues must have a favorable nutrient status. Although a plant may be marginally low in a number of nutrients, only one nutrient at a time will limit overall growth. However, if the supply of that limiting nutrient is increased even slightly, the resulting increase in growth will increase the demand for all other nutrients and another nutrient, the next lowest in availability, will become limiting.
    Other Diagnostic Tools

    Although visual diagnostic symptoms are an extremely valuable tool for the rapid evaluation of the nutrient status of a plant, they are only some of the tools available. Other major tools include microscopic studies, spectral analysis, and tissue and soil analysis. These methods all vary in their precision, rapidity and their ability to predict future nutrient status. Because of the close interaction between plant growth and the environment, all predictions of future nutrient status must make assumptions about how the environment will change in that time frame.
    The principle advantage of visual diagnostic symptoms is that they are readily obtained and provide an immediate evaluation of nutrient status. Their main drawback is that the visual symptoms do not develop until after there has been a major effect on yield, growth and development.
    Tissue analysis is nutrient-specific but relatively slow; tissues must be sampled, processed, and analyzed before the nutrient status can be determined. An analysis of the mineral nutrient content of selected plants tissues, when compared against Critical Level values (which are available for most crop plants, see textbook Figure 5.4), can be used to evaluate the plant nutrient status at the time of sampling with a relatively high degree of confidence and can be extrapolated to project nutrient status at harvest. Soil analysis is similar to tissue analysis but evaluates the potential supplying power of the soil instead of plant nutrient status. Plant analysis provides information as to what the plant needs, while soil analysis provides information about the status of the nutrient supply.
    Spectral analysis of nutrient status is still in its infancy and is presently used primarily in the inventory of global resources and in specialized studies. Microscopic studies are most valuable in looking at the physiological aspects of nutrient stress rather than the evaluation of plant nutrient status on a whole plant or crop basis.
    Symptom Descriptions

    It is unusual to find any one leaf or even one plant that displays the full array of symptoms that are characteristic of a given deficiency. It is thus highly desirable to know how individual symptoms look, for it is possible for them to occur in many possible combinations on a single plant. Most of the terms used below in the description of deficiency symptoms are reasonably self evident; a few however have a distinct meaning in the nutrient deficiency field. For example, the term chlorotic, which is a general term for yellowing of leaves through the loss of chlorophyll, cannot be used without further qualification because there may be an overall chlorosis as in nitrogen deficiency, interveinal, as in iron deficiency, or marginal, as in calcium deficiency. Another term used frequently in the description of deficiency symptoms is necrotic, a general term for brown, dead tissue. This symptom can also appear in many varied forms, as is the case with chlorotic symptoms.
    Nutrient deficiency symptoms for many plants are similar, but because of the large diversity found in plants and their environments there is a range of expression of symptoms. Because of their parallel veins, grasses and other monocots generally display the affects of chlorosis as a series of stripes rather than the netted interveinal chlorosis commonly found in dicots. The other major difference is that the marginal necrosis or chlorosis found in dicots is often expressed as tip burn in monocots.
    Web Figures 5.1.AM show deficiency symptoms for macronutrients and micronutrients in tomato.
    Magnesium. The Mg-deficient leaves (see Web Figure 5.1.A) show advanced interveinal chlorosis, with necrosis developing in the highly chlorotic tissue. In its advanced form, magnesium deficiency may superficially resemble potassium deficiency. In the case of magnesium deficiency the symptoms generally start with mottled chlorotic areas developing in the interveinal tissue. The interveinal laminae tissue tends to expand proportionately more than the other leaf tissues, producing a raised puckered surface, with the top of the puckers progressively going from chlorotic to necrotic tissue. In some plants such as the Brassica (i.e., the mustard family, which includes vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, rape, rutabaga and turnip), tints of orange, yellow, and purple may also develop.
    Web Figure 5.1.A Magnesium deficiency symptoms in tomato. (Epstein and Bloom 2004) (Click image to enlarge.)
    Manganese. These leaves (see Web Figure 5.1.B) show a light interveinal chlorosis developed under a limited supply of Mn. The early stages of the chlorosis induced by manganese deficiency are somewhat similar to iron deficiency. They begin with a light chlorosis of the young leaves and netted veins of the mature leaves especially when they are viewed through transmitted light. As the stress increases, the leaves take on a gray metallic sheen and develop dark freckled and necrotic areas along the veins. A purplish luster may also develop on the upper surface of the leaves. Grains such as oats, wheat, and barley are extremely susceptible to manganese deficiency. They develop a light chlorosis along with gray specks which elongate and coalesce, and eventually the entire leaf withers and dies.
    Web Figure 5.1.B Manganese deficiency symptoms in tomato. (Epstein and Bloom 2004) (Click image to enlarge.)
    Molybdenum. These leaves (See Web Figure 5.1.C) show some mottled spotting along with some interveinal chlorosis. An early symptom for molybdenum deficiency is a general overall chlorosis, similar to the symptom for nitrogen deficiency but generally without the reddish coloration on the undersides of the leaves. This results from the requirement for molybdenum in the reduction of nitrate, which needs to be reduced prior to its assimilation by the plant (see textbook Chapter 12). Thus, the initial symptoms of molybdenum deficiency are in fact those of nitrogen deficiency. However, molybdenum has other metabolic functions within the plant, and hence there are deficiency symptoms even when reduced nitrogen is available. In the case of cauliflower, the lamina of the new leaves fail to develop, resulting in a characteristic whiptail appearance. In many plants there is an upward cupping of the leaves and mottled spots developing into large interveinal chlorotic areas under severe deficiency. At high concentrations, molybdenum has a very distinctive toxicity symptom in that the leaves turn a very brilliant orange.
    Web Figure 5.1.C Molybdenum deficiency symptoms in tomato. (Epstein and Bloom 2004) (Click image to enlarge.)
    Nitrogen. The chlorotic symptoms (see Web Figure 5.1.D) shown by this leaf resulted from nitrogen deficiency. A light red cast can also be seen on the veins and petioles. Under nitrogen deficiency, the older mature leaves gradually change from their normal characteristic green appearance to a much paler green. As the deficiency progresses these older leaves become uniformly yellow (chlorotic). Leaves approach a yellowish white color under extreme deficiency. The young leaves at the top of the plant maintain a green but paler color and tend to become smaller in size. Branching is reduced in nitrogen deficient plants resulting in short, spindly plants. The yellowing in nitrogen deficiency is uniform over the entire leaf including the veins. However in some instances, an interveinal necrosis replaces the chlorosis commonly found in many plants. In some plants the underside of the leaves and/or the petioles and midribs develop traces of a reddish or purple color. In some plants this coloration can be quite bright. As the deficiency progresses, the older leaves also show more of a tendency to wilt under mild water stress and become senescent much earlier than usual. Recovery of deficient plants to applied nitrogen is immediate (days) and spectacular.
    Web Figure 5.1.D Nitrogen deficiency symptoms in tomato. (Epstein and Bloom 2004) (Click image to enlarge.)
    Phosphorus. These phosphorus-deficient leaves (see Web Figure 5.1.E) show some necrotic spots. As a rule, phosphorus deficiency symptoms are not very distinct and thus difficult to identify. A major visual symptom is that the plants are dwarfed or stunted. Phosphorus deficient plants develop very slowly in relation to other plants growing under similar environmental conditions but without phosphorus deficiency. Phosphorus deficient plants are often mistaken for unstressed but much younger plants. Some species such as tomato, lettuce, corn and the brassicas develop a distinct purpling of the stem, petiole and the under sides of the leaves. Under severe deficiency conditions there is also a tendency for leaves to develop a blue-gray luster. In older leaves under very severe deficiency conditions a brown netted veining of the leaves may develop.
    Web Figure 5.1.E Phosphorus deficiency symptoms in tomato. (Epstein and Bloom 2004) (Click image to enlarge.)
    Sulfur. This leaves (see Web Figure 5.1.F) show a general overall chlorosis while still retaining some green color. The veins and petioles show a very distinct reddish color. The visual symptoms of sulfur deficiency are very similar to the chlorosis found in nitrogen deficiency. However, in sulfur deficiency the yellowing is much more uniform over the entire plant including young leaves. The reddish color often found on the underside of the leaves and the petioles has a more pinkish tone and is much less vivid than that found in nitrogen deficiency. With advanced sulfur deficiency brown lesions and/or necrotic spots often develop along the petiole, and the leaves tend to become more erect and often twisted and brittle.
    Web Figure 5.1.F Sulfur deficiency symptoms in tomato. (Epstein and Bloom 2004) (Click image to enlarge.)
    Zinc. This leaves (see Web Figure 5.1.G) show an advanced case of interveinal necrosis. In the early stages of zinc deficiency the younger leaves become yellow and pitting develops in the interveinal upper surfaces of the mature leaves. Guttation (see textbook Figure 4.5) is also prevalent. As the deficiency progress these symptoms develop into an intense interveinal necrosis but the main veins remain green, as in the symptoms of recovering iron deficiency. In many plants, especially trees, the leaves become very small and the internodes shorten, producing a rosette like appearance.
    Web Figure 5.1.G Zinc deficiency symptoms in tomato. (Epstein and Bloom 2004) (Click image to enlarge.)
    Boron. These boron-deficient leaves (see Web Figure 5.1.H) show a light general chlorosis. The tolerance of plants to boron varies greatly, to the extent that the boron concentrations necessary for the growth of plants having a high boron requirement may be toxic to plants sensitive to boron. Boron is poorly transported in the phloem of most plants, with the exception of those plants that utilize complex sugars, such as sorbitol, as transport metabolites. In a recent study, (see Brown et al. 1999) tobacco plants engineered to synthesize sorbitol were shown to have increased boron mobility, and to better tolerate boron deficiency in the soil.
    Web Figure 5.1.H Boron deficiency symptoms in tomato. (Epstein and Bloom 2004) (Click image to enlarge.)
    In plants with poor boron mobility, boron deficiency results in necrosis of meristematic tissues in the growing region, leading to loss of apical dominance and the development of a rosette condition. These deficiency symptoms are similar to those caused by calcium deficiency. In plants in which boron is readily transported in the phloem, the deficiency symptoms localize in the mature tissues, similar to those of nitrogen and potassium. Both the pith and the epidermis of stems may be affected, often resulting in hollow or roughened stems along with necrotic spots on the fruit. The leaf blades develop a pronounced crinkling and there is a darkening and crackling of the petioles often with exudation of syrupy material from the leaf blade. The leaves are unusually brittle and tend to break easily. Also, there is often a wilting of the younger leaves even under an adequate water supply, pointing to a disruption of water transport caused by boron deficiency.
    Calcium. These calcium-deficient leaves (see Web Figure 5.1.I) show necrosis around the base of the leaves. The very low mobility of calcium is a major factor determining the expression of calcium deficiency symptoms in plants. Classic symptoms of calcium deficiency include blossom-end rot of tomato (burning of the end part of tomato fruits), tip burn of lettuce, blackheart of celery and death of the growing regions in many plants. All these symptoms show soft dead necrotic tissue at rapidly growing areas, which is generally related to poor translocation of calcium to the tissue rather than a low external supply of calcium. Very slow growing plants with a deficient supply of calcium may re-translocate sufficient calcium from older leaves to maintain growth with only a marginal chlorosis of the leaves. This ultimately results in the margins of the leaves growing more slowly than the rest of the leaf, causing the leaf to cup downward. This symptom often progresses to the point where the petioles develop but the leaves do not, leaving only a dark bit of necrotic tissue at the top of each petiole. Plants under chronic calcium deficiency have a much greater tendency to wilt than non-stressed plants.
    Web Figure 5.2.I Calcium deficiency symptoms in tomato. (Epstein and Bloom 2004) (Click image to enlarge.)
    Chloride. These leaves (see Web Figure 5.1.J) have abnormal shapes, with distinct interveinal chlorosis. Plants require relatively high chlorine concentration in their tissues. Chlorine is very abundant in soils, and reaches high concentrations in saline areas, but it can be deficient in highly leached inland areas. The most common symptoms of chlorine deficiency are chlorosis and wilting of the young leaves. The chlorosis occurs on smooth flat depressions in the interveinal area of the leaf blade. In more advanced cases there often appears a characteristic bronzing on the upper side of the mature leaves. Plants are generally tolerant of chloride, but some species such as avocados, stone fruits, and grapevines are sensitive to chlorine and can show toxicity even at low chloride concentrations in the soil.
    Web Figure 5.1.J Chloride deficiency symptoms in tomato. (Epstein and Bloom 2004) (Click image to enlarge.)
    Copper. These copper-deficient leaves (see Web Figure 5.1.K) are curled, and their petioles bend downward. Copper deficiency may be expressed as a light overall chlorosis along with the permanent loss of turgor in the young leaves. Recently matured leaves show netted, green veining with areas bleaching to a whitish gray. Some leaves develop sunken necrotic spots and have a tendency to bend downward. Trees under chronic copper deficiency develop a rosette form of growth. Leaves are small and chlorotic with spotty necrosis.
    Web Figure 5.1.K Copper deficiency symptoms in tomato. (Epstein and Bloom 2004) (Click image to enlarge.)
    Iron. These iron-deficient leaves (see Web Figure 5.1.L) show strong chlorosis at the base of the leaves with some green netting. The most common symptom for iron deficiency starts out as an interveinal chlorosis of the youngest leaves, evolves into an overall chlorosis, and ends as a totally bleached leaf. The bleached areas often develop necrotic spots. Up until the time the leaves become almost completely white they will recover upon application of iron. In the recovery phase the veins are the first to recover as indicated by their bright green color. This distinct venial re-greening observed during iron recovery is probably the most recognizable symptom in all of classical plant nutrition. Because iron has a low mobility, iron deficiency symptoms appear first on the youngest leaves. Iron deficiency is strongly associated with calcareous soils and anaerobic conditions, and it is often induced by an excess of heavy metals.
    Figure 5.1.L Iron deficiency symptoms in tomato. (Epstein and Bloom 2004) (Click image to enlarge.)
    Potassium. Some of these leaves (see Web Figure 5.1.M) show marginal necrosis (tip burn), others at a more advanced deficiency status show necrosis in the interveinal spaces between the main veins along with interveinal chlorosis. This group of symptoms is very characteristic of K deficiency symptoms.
    Web Figure 5.1.M Potassium deficiency symptoms in tomato. (Epstein and Bloom 2004) (Click image to enlarge.)
    The onset of potassium deficiency is generally characterized by a marginal chlorosis progressing into a dry leathery tan scorch on recently matured leaves. This is followed by increasing interveinal scorching and/or necrosis progressing from the leaf edge to the midrib as the stress increases. As the deficiency progresses, most of the interveinal area becomes necrotic, the veins remain green and the leaves tend to curl and crinkle. In some plant such as legumes and potato, the initial symptom of deficiency is white speckling or freckling of the leaf blades. In contrast to nitrogen deficiency, chlorosis is irreversible in potassium deficiency, even if potassium is given to the plants. Because potassium is very mobile within the plant, symptoms only develop on young leaves in the case of extreme deficiency. Potassium deficiency can be greatly alleviated in the presence of sodium but the resulting sodium-rich plants are much more succulent than a high potassium plant. In some plants over 90% of the required potassium can be replaced with sodium without any reduction in growth.
    or additional images of plant nutrient deficiency symptoms, visit the IPM Images website.
    http://5e.plantphys.net/index.php
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    Default Re: Symptoms of Deficiency in Essential Minerals

    Plants need correct ratios and levels of properly-configured nutrients if they are to eagerly grow, bloom and yield. During a plant's life cycle, it needs different types and ratios of nutrients. If you are growing indoors using hydroponics techniques, it is especially important to provide proper nutrients in correct ratios at the right time.
    That's because hydroponics gardens do not use soil (which contains nutrients) but instead use sterile root zone media that needs all nutrients added to it so plants can uptake nutrients needed for growth.
    Plants suffer when they are fed the wrong kind of nutrients, when they are fed nutrients at the wrong time, when they are fed too much nutrients, or when they are not fed enough nutrients. They also suffer if nutrients are fed, but are not biologically available for uptake into the plant.
    The availability of nutrients is affected not just by how much nutrients a gardener provides plants, but by the root zone environment and other factors. For example, the acidity or alkalinity of nutrient water affects whether plants can uptake nutrients.
    The quality of nutrient formulas also affects the degree to which nutrients are available to plants. Advanced Nutrients fertilizers are made with the highest quality pharmaceutical grade source materials. We use superior forms of "chelates", which are a substance that binds with nutrients and helps them penetrate into roots and be easily transported inside plants.
    So if you are experiencing nutrient-related problems, be sure you are using Advanced Nutrients products, and check the pH of your nutrient water and root zone media to ensure that the pH is in the ideal range between 5.8 and 6.3.
    How To Use This Guide
    Nutrient problems can be caused by a variety of factors, including undersupply or oversupply of nutrients. But problems are never as simple as they seem, so you should read and use this guide carefully- or you could do more harm than good.
    Plant nutrients are classified into two categories: macronutrients and micronutrients.
    Macronutrients are elements that plants most need. Macronutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulfur, with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium being most commonly recognized as macronutrients.
    Micronutrients are elements that plants need in smaller amounts; they are sometimes called trace elements. These include iron, manganese, copper, zinc, molybdenum, cobalt, boron and chlorine. Calcium, magnesium and sulfur and sometimes classified as micronutrients.
    The following information focuses on nutrient deficiencies, excesses and interactions. You will be able to read information and view photos that illustrate or describe what your plants will look like, and/or how they will be affected by specific deficiencies.
    Note that the most common deficiencies involve iron, manganese, zinc, calcium or nitrogen.
    Our research shows that interactions between nutrients can affect deficiency syndromes. For example, the correct ratio of iron and sulfur uptake is very important for optimal nitrogen uptake.
    When you are trying to understand if a plant problem is caused by a nutrient problem, it is important to note not just what the plant symptom looks like, but where it appears on the plant.
    Indeed, the location on the plant that a symptom shows up is a critical factor that will help you ascertain the cause of the deficiency.
    That's because macro and micronutrients fall into two categories: mobile and immobile. Mobile nutrient deficiencies will show up in older growth first. Immobile nutrient deficiencies will show up in new growth first.
    Mobile elements are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, molybdenum, magnesium and zinc. Immobile elements are iron, copper, manganese, chlorine, cobalt, boron, calcium and sulfur.
    For example, sulfur deficiency is difficult to identify, but it most often appears on older growth first. Sulfur is considered a semi-mobile element.
    If you believe you have identified a particular nutrient problem, be sure to do other troubleshooting before you start augmenting an allegedly deficient nutrient.
    Perhaps it's not a nutrient deficiency at all. It could be that something is wrong in your garden environment. And problems caused by pests, diseases, molds and mildews often show symptoms that resemble those caused by nutrients.
    For example, if a plant is yellow at the top with some browning, and the rest of the plant is healthy down below, it could be that your light is too close to the plant and is burning it.
    If you see tiny yellow spots on leaves, they could be caused by spider mites, not nutrient problems.
    And before you begin adding extra nutrients to correct an alleged deficiency, flush the root zone. It sounds counter-intuitive, but sometimes too much nutrients can cause a chemical reaction that makes some nutrients unavailable to plants.
    When you flush your root zone with distilled water and Advanced Nutrients Final Phase, you clear out accumulated nutrients and pollutants that may be interfering with the plant's ability to uptake nutrients.
    To use this guide, read the descriptions and look at the pictures. Examine your plants carefully. Contact Advanced Nutrients technical support if you see problems that you cannot fix on your own or about which you are unsure.
    With practice and diligence, you will gradually become able to diagnose nutrient-caused problems.
    Nitrogen
    Phosphorus
    Potassium
    Calcium
    Magnesium
    Sulfur
    Boron
    Cobalt
    Copper
    Chlorine
    Molybdenum
    Manganese
    Iron
    Silicon
    Zinc
    Our research shows that interactions between nutrients can affect deficiency syndromes. For example, the correct ratio of iron and sulfur uptake is very important for optimal nitrogen uptake.
    When you are trying to understand if a plant problem is caused by a nutrient deficiency, it is important to note not just what the deficiency looks like, but where it appears on the plant.
    Indeed, the location on the plant that a deficiency symptom shows up is a critical factor that will help you ascertain the cause of the deficiency.
    That's because macro and micro nutrients fall into two categories: mobile and immobile. Mobile nutrient deficiencies will show up in older growth first. Immobile nutrient deficiencies will show up in new growth first.
    Mobile elements are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, molybdenum, magnesium and zinc. Immobile elements are iron, copper, manganese, chlorine, cobalt, boron, calcium and sulfur.
    Sulfur deficiency is difficult to identify, but it most often appears on older growth first. Sulfur is considered a semi-mobile element.
    If you believe that you have identified a particular deficiency issue, be sure to do other troubleshooting before you start augmenting an allegedly deficient nutrient.
    Perhaps it's not a nutrient deficiency at all. It could be that something is wrong in your garden environment.
    For example, if a plant is yellow at the top with some browning, and the rest of the plant is healthy down below, it could be that your light is too close to the plant and is burning it.
    And before you begin adding extra nutrients to correct an alleged deficiency, flush the root zone. It sounds counterintuitive, but sometimes too much nutrients can cause a chemical reaction that makes some nutrients unavailable to plants.
    When you flush your root zone with distilled water and Advanced Nutrients Final Phase, you clear out accumulated nutrients and other pollutants that may be interfering with the plant's ability to uptake nutrients.
    To use this guide, read the descriptions and look at the pictures. Examine your plants carefully. Contact Advanced Nutrients technical support if you see problems that you cannot fix on your own. With practice and diligence, you will gradually become able to diagnose nutrient-caused problems.
    Definition Of Plant Terms: Plant Science Vocabulary
    Following are terms commonly used to name plant parts or to describe how nutrient problems look on plants.
    Note that plant leaves are the part of the plant where the effects of deficiencies are most easily seen.
    Here are the terms:
    Mottling - Patches of green and light, non-green areas on leaves.
    Firing - Yellowing, followed by rapid death of lower leaves, moving up the plant and giving the same appearance as if someone torched the bottom of the plants.
    Necrosis - Severe deficiencies result in the death of the entire plant or parts of the plant first affected by the deficiency. Plant tissue browns and dies. Tissue which has already died on a still living plant is called necrotic.
    Necrotic - dead spots on leaves.
    Chlorosis - Yellowing of leaf tissue. A common deficiency symptom because many nutrients affect the photosynthesis process directly or indirectly. If leaves are yellow, this is a sure sign that something is seriously wrong in your garden.
    Interveinal Chlorosis - Yellowing between leaf veins but the veins themselves are still green. In grasses, this is called "striping."
    Rosetting - Very short internodes.
    Stippling - Small spots or dots on leaves.
    Axil - The angle between the upper side of the stem and a leaf, branch, or petiole.
    Axillary bud - A bud that develops in the axil.
    Flower - The reproductive unit of a female plant.
    Flower stalk - Structure that supports the flower. Internode - The area of the stem between any two adjacent nodes.
    Internode - The area of the stem between any two adjacent nodes.
    Lateral Shoot (branch) - An offshoot of the stem of a plant.
    Leaf - an outgrowth of a plant that grows from a node in the stem. Most leaves are flat and contain chloroplasts; their main function is to convert energy from sunlight into chemical energy (food) through photosynthesis. Healthy leaves are lime green.
    Node - The part of the stem of a plant from which a leaf, branch, or aerial root grows; each plant has many nodes.
    Petiole - The leaf stalk that attaches a leaf to the plant.
    Root - A root is a plant structure that obtains food and water from the soil, stores energy, and provides support for the plant. Most roots grow underground.
    Root cap - A structure at the ends (tips) of the roots. It covers and protects the apical meristem (the actively growing region) of the root.
    Stem (also called the axis) - The main support of the plant.
    Tap root - The main root of some plants. The tap root extends straight down under the plant.
    Terminal bud - Located at the apex (tip) of the stem. Terminal buds have special tissue, called the apical meristem, consisting of cells that can divide indefinitely.
    Nitrogen - (N) (mobile in plant, mobile in soil)
    Nitrogen deficiencies often appear first in older leaves, and will manifest as a light green overall appearance.
    As symptoms progress, the leaves turn a yellow color and stems become weak and lower leaves drop off. Necrosis develops in older leaves. New growth becomes weak and spindly. Tops and roots grow poorly.
    When plants are in the mid to later growth or flowering stages, older growth and large fan leaves may show nitrogen deficiency.
    This is normal during the late stage of floral development because plants near the end of their lives are using up their nutrient and carbohydrate reserves. As leaves turn completely yellow, remove them from the plant.
    Nitrogen excess turns foliage very dark green and can make plants susceptible to drought, disease and insect predation.
    Nitrogen is crucial to photosynthesis and reproductive function. Nitrogen makes proteins and is essential to new cell growth. Nitrogen is mainly utilized for leaf and stem growth, as well as overall plant size and vigor.
    Nitrogen moves easily to active young shoots and leaves and moves more slowly to older leaves. Nitrogen is involved in the structuring of amino acids, enzymes (specialized proteins that perform duties inside plants), proteins and nucleic acids. All of these are essential for cell division and most other plant functions. Obviously, nitrogen is essential to plant growth.
    The "salts" commonly used as a source of nitrogen are: potassium nitrate (KNO3), ammonium nitrate (NH4N03) and calcium nitrate (Ca (N03)2.4H2O).
    Nitrate is transported via xylem to all parts of the plant, where it participates in nitrogen assimilation. Nitrate is stored in cell vacuoles and fulfills important functions in the osmo-regulation and anion-cation balance in plant cells.
    Inorganic nitrogen is reduced to ammonia and incorporated in organic molecules. Ammonium in the roots is most commonly stored as organic nitrogen.
    This reaction is carried out by two enzymes, nitrate and nitrite reductases. Nitrate is first converted into nitrite by nitrate reductase; then, nitrite is reduced into ammonia by nitrite reductase.
    Conversion of nitrate into nitrite occurs in the cytoplasm. Nitrate reductase consists of FAD, cytochromes [Fe2/Fe3] and molybdenum [Mo(V)/(VI)].
    These components form integral parts of the electron transport chain through which electrons are used to reduce nitrate to nitrite. If high nitrate concentrations are present it can also be transported to the leaves where it is then reduced.
    Glutamine synthetase and glutamate synthase are key enzymes in conversion of ammonium into glutamine. It is then converted into asparagine, arginine and allantoin act as basic sources of nitrogen for all macromolecules biosynthesis.
    You should daily monitor your plants, focusing on their leaves. If you see pale leaves with a yellow tinge like the picture, you may have a nitrogen deficiency. Such deficiency can slow growth, decrease harvest size and damage the overall health of your plants.
    The best ways to avoid nitrogen deficiency are to use only Advanced Nutrients products, and to keep your root zone pH in the ideal 5.8 to 6.3 range.
    Phosphorus - (P) (mobile in plant, immobile in soil)
    Phosphorus deficiencies show up in older growth first. You will see leaf tips curling downwards.
    When phosphorus is deficient, slow and spindly plants with reduced growth will result.
    Phosphorus deficiency leaf damage often shows itself as patches that are dull dark green to bluish green. In severe cases, older leaf and petioles turn reddish purple.
    Younger leaves appear yellowish green with purplish veins when nitrogen is deficient, but will have dark green veins when phosphorus is deficient.
    Necrotic spots occur on leaf margins in advanced stages of phosphorus deficiency. Leaf tips look like they have been burnt.
    Phosphorus deficiency is most common when ph is above 7 or below 5.5. Phosphorus will bind with soil very easily and this can cause excess phosphorus. Excess phosphorus can create deficiencies of zinc and iron.
    Plants use phosphorus for photosynthesis, respiration, storing carbohydrates, cell division, energy transport (ATP, ADP), nucleic acids, enzymes and phospholipids.
    Phosphorus builds strong roots and is vital for seed and flower production. Highest levels of phosphorus are needed during germination, early seedling growth and flowering.
    Some crops require lots of phosphorus, but most require more potassium and nitrogen and magnesium than phosphorus. Several types of hydroponics plants need far more phosphorus during flowering than during vegetative growth phase.
    Excess phosphorus causes decrease in the uptake of zinc, iron and copper- which starts a chain reaction of other macro and micro nutrient deficiencies.
    When temperatures drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius), plants have a hard time uptaking phosphorus.
    Phosphorus is present in the plant as inorganic phosphate (Pi), or bound to a carbon atom. Phospholipids in bio-membranes contain a large amount of phosphorus. In these molecules phosphorus makes a connection between a diglyceride and an amino acid, amine or alcohol via a phosphate- ester bond.
    Phospholipids consist of a hydrophobic tail, the diglyceride, and a hydrophilic head containing PO4. Membranes consist of two monolayers of phospholipids known as a lipid bilayer. The hydrophilic end of the phospholipids are oriented towards water (outward) while the hydrophobic ends are orientated inwards.
    Phosphorous plays a very central role in determining the total energy metabolism of the plant because it forms energy-rich phosphate esters (C-P) such as glucose-6-phosphate.
    Energy released during the glycolysis, oxidative phosphorylation or photosynthesis is used to synthesize ATP and this energy is liberated during the hydrolysis of ATP in ADP and inorganic phosphate. ATP is unstable and therefore turns over rapidly.
    Plant cells contain two different forms of phosphate storage. Within the metabolic storage, phosphate is primarily stored as phosphate esters which can be found in the cytoplasm and mitochondria of the cell.
    With non-metabolic storage, phosphate is stored as inorganic phosphate (Pi) in vacuoles.
    Phosphorus regulates starch production in chloroplasts. ADP-glucose-pyrophosphorylase, an enzyme involved in the synthesis of starch, is inhibited by Pi and stimulated by triose-phosphates.
    Phosphorous availability has a direct affect on the energy balance in the cell and nucleic acid biosynthesis.
    Phosphorus deficiency can cause reduction in growth rate and show up as dark-green coloration of leaves, caused by accumulation of chlorophyll in leaves.
    During flowering, you can make appropriate adjustments to phosphorus levels by using Advanced Nutrients Hammerhead.
    Potassium
    Potassium deficiencies show first in older leaves and are displayed as: yellowing; singed or scorching of leaf margins with small necrotic areas that start small and get bigger; brittle stems accompanied by withering leaf tips; interveinal chlorosis starting at the base of young leaves; reddening and upwards leaf curl in older leaves.
    In vegetative stage, plants develop too slow and are stunted. In bloom phase, flowers develop slowly and fail to achieve normal size. Deficiencies of potassium are a major cause of small harvests.
    Excess potassium interferes with calcium and magnesium uptake.
    Potassium is essential in function and formation of enzymes and proteins. It is also essential in regulation of osmotic pressure and in most metabolic cellular processes.
    Augmentation of potassium during flowering phase can be achieved by administering Hammerhead.
    Calcium - (immobile in plant, immobile in soil)
    Deficiencies show first in new, young growth. Calcium moves slowly within plants and concentrated in roots and older growth. That's why young growth shows deficiency signs first.
    Calcium deficiency symptoms include: leaf tips, leaf edges and new growth turn brown and die; chlorosis, necrosis, & distorted leaf margins; leaf tips hooking, turning brown and black, and dieing off.
    Deficiency is not the only problem associated with calcium. If too much calcium is present early in a plant's life cycle, growth is stunted. In other phases of growth, calcium excess interferes with magnesium and potassium uptake.
    Calcium is transported via water to plant tissues, but if calcium levels in root zone media are too low, calcium deficiency can occur regardless of what levels are in the plant aboveground.
    Because calcium is immobile, it cannot be easily translocated to the region of active growth in the shoot tip. Thus, calcium deficiency can cause severe reduction in new growth.
    Although calcium may be adequate in the lowest leaves, levels in the meristematic upper plant region can still be low, causing defective upper leaf growth followed by necrotic patches in young leaves.
    During early blooming phase, calcium deficiency can affect shoot growth, resulting in abortion of flower and bud structures.
    Moderate calcium deficiency results in bended or twisted leaves, along with white streaks or white leaf margins in new leaf growth.
    Calcium deficiencies make roots stubby and twisted and can cause root death.
    Severe calcium deficiency can destroy all new growth and cause leaf mutations.
    Calcium is crucial to cell elongation and is an important component in cell walls. It acts as a binding agent between cells and enhances uptake of negatively charged ions such as nitrate, sulfate, borate and molybdate.
    Calcium is important for uptake of most macro and micro nutrients. Calcium is responsible for strong growth and very important in bud set and water uptake.
    Calcium is a major constituent of cell walls, is critical to root and leaf development, seed production, pollen germination, cell mitosis, cell division and floral maturity.
    Calcium binds primarily to cell walls and cell membranes. The high concentration of calcium in the cell wall and cell membranes provides rigidity to the plant cell wall structure. The absence of calcium causes degradation of the cell wall and lead to a softening of the plant tissue.
    Adequate calcium helps plants resist fungal infections, which are often a big problem in hydroponics grow rooms.
    Calcium plays a vital role in cell and root replication.
    To properly augment calcium, use Advanced Nutrients Sensi Cal Grow and Bloom.
    Magnesium - (Mg) (mobile in plant, immobile in soil)
    Magnesium deficiencies show first in older, lower leaves. The symptoms start from the margin inwards. The leaf mid-rib and veins remain green while leaf margins are yellow or whitish, sometimes leaving a green arrowhead shape in the centre of the blade.
    Interveinal chlorotic mottling or marbling of older leaves proceeds toward younger leaves as magnesium deficiency becomes more severe. This is sometimes accompanied by leaf tips curling upwards.
    Chlorotic interveinal yellow patches can occur near leaf centers. In these cases, leaf margins are the last to turn yellow.
    Interveinal yellow patches then progress to necrotic spots or patches and scorching of the leaf margins. In some cases, leaves die and drop off.
    Magnesium shortages result in defective bud production and inadequate bud development.
    Excess magnesium interferes with calcium and potassium uptake.
    Plants use magnesium to: produce chlorophyll; regulate enzymes for transport of nutrients and carbohydrates in the plant; cell replication; seed production.
    Magnesium is an important co-factor in production of ATP, the compound that helps plants transfer energy. It is also a bridge between ATP and enzyme activity.
    Flowering and fruiting plants use more and more magnesium as they progress towards maturation and harvest.
    Magnesium helps plants generate energy through photosynthesis and is also crucial to protein synthesis.
    To augment magnesium, use Sensi Cal Mg Grow and Bloom.
    Sulfur - (S) (moderately mobile in plant, immobile in soil)
    Deficiencies show up on older leaves first. Then they show up on younger leaves, turning them light green, then yellow. These symptoms are accompanied by slow growth. Leaves lose color, but veins remain green.
    Sulfur deficiency symptoms are easily recognizable and are frequently confused with the nitrogen deficiency symptoms.
    Sulfur deficiency causes small and spindly plants with short, slender stalks and reduced growth rate with delayed maturity.
    An overdose of sulfur can cause premature dropping of leaves.
    Some plants require as much sulfur as they do phosphorus. Sulfur is a component of cystine and methionine (amino acids that make up plant proteins). Sulfur is therefore a component of plant proteins.
    It also has a major role in root growth and chlorophyll production. Sulfur is essential to seed production and overall plant hardiness. It is an enzyme activator and coenzyme compound. Sulfur enhances flavor and odor; it also is a formative part of chloroplasts and nucleic acid proteins. Sulfur deficiency decreases protein synthesis and causes significant reduction in leaf chlorophyll levels.
    Please note that augmentation of sulfur is NOT achieved by the use of sulfur burners.
    Boron - (B) (immobile in plant, mobile in soil)
    Boron Deficiencies show up first in younger leaves; they turn yellow. Boron deficiencies resemble calcium deficiencies. Symptoms include stunting, discoloration, death of growing tips, and floral abortion.
    Boron deficiencies stunt roots, mutate leaves, and create brittle leaves that appear bronzed or scorched.
    Boron deficiency symptoms first appear at growing points. This results in a stunted appearance and short internodes (rosetting). Both the pith and epidermis of stems may develop hollow, roughened or cracked stems.
    Leaf margins discolor and die backs. Necrotic spots develop between leaf veins. Deficient leaves become thick and they may wilt with necrotic and chlorotic spotting.
    If you have a potassium deficiency, plants have a hard time absorbing boron.
    Excessive boron can cause the same kinds of problems as calcium deficiency cause. To complicate matters, the symptoms of excess boron can resemble the symptoms of deficient boron.
    Boron is used for sugar transport within the plant. It helps with cell replication, production of amino acids, pollination, seed production, carbohydrate synthesis and transport, cell division, differentiation, maturation, respiration and growth, and water uptake.
    Boron is essential for plant growth but its mode of action is poorly understood. Boron is taken in by roots and transported via xylem to other parts of the plant. In the cell membrane it is mainly present as a borate ester. Boron is involved in lignification of cell walls and in differentiation of xylem.
    Boron plays a regulating role in synthesis of cell walls. as well as in stabilization of constituents of the cell wall and cell membranes. Boron deficiency immediately results in inhibition of primary and secondary root growth.
    Boron regulates phenol metabolism and synthesis of lignins by forming a stable borate ester with phenolic acids.
    To properly augment boron, copper, cobalt and other micronutrients, use Advanced Nutrients Micro or Well Water Micro.
    Cobalt - (Co) (immobile in plant/immobile in soil)
    Deficiencies are rare, but express themselves as chlorosis of younger leaves.
    Cobalt is a chelation "bridge" that assists uptake of other metals and nitrogen fixation. It assists enzymes related to manufacture of aromatic compounds. It is also required for a few bacteria and algae.
    Cobalt is essential to proper use of nitrogen Three enzyme systems of Rhizobium bacteria are known to contain cobalamin. There's correlation between cobalt concentration, nitrogen fixation and root nodule development.
    Cobalt is required for methionine synthesis, ribonucleotide synthesis and synthesis of methylmalonyl-coenzyme A mutase. The latter is necessary for the synthesis of leghemoglobin, which plays a major role in protection of nitrogenase against oxygen, which is able to irreversibly damage the enzyme.
    Copper - (Cu) (immobile in plants/mobile in soil)
    Deficiencies show up first on youngest leaves, young tips, buds and shoots. Older leaves develop chlorosis, growing tips die and bud development is small. Copper deficiencies cause irregular growth and pale green leaves that wither at leaf margins.
    Leaves at top of the plant wilt first, followed by chlorotic and necrotic areas on leaves, and necrosis of the apical meristem (the center stem of the plant).
    Leaves on top half of plant show unusual puckering with veinal chlorosis. Copper deficiencies also show on the leaf, where the petiole joins the main stem of the plant beginning about 10 or more leaves below the growing point.
    Excess copper is extremely dangerous to plants. Plants can develop iron chlorosis, stunted growth and stunted root development. Toxic buildup of copper occurs quicker in acidic soils.
    Copper activates several enzymes, is needed for photosynthesis, and assists metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins. It intensifies color and flavor. It is essential in several enzyme systems and in plant respiration.
    Copper is a divalent cation and is taken up by the plant as Cu+ or as a copper chelate complex and transported via xylem and phloem.
    Copper deficiency immediately harms activity of copper-containing enzymes, but remember, an excess of copper is toxic to plant cells.
    Chlorine - (CL) (immobile in plants, mobile in soil)
    Believe it or not, chlorine is essential for plant growth. It's needed for photosynthesis. It's an enzyme activator that assists production of oxygen from water and in water transport regulation.
    Plants use chlorine as chloride ion. Chlorine is useful as a charge balancing ion and for turgidity regulation, keeping plant cells free of infection by disease. It helps open and close stomata by increasing osmotic pressure in cells.
    Excess chlorine causes burnt tips and margins on young leaves. If chlorine levels are too high, cuttings will not root well, and seeds may not germinate.
    High chlorine levels also cause leaves to take on a yellowish bronze color, and they are slow to develop. Chlorine is commonly used to treat drinking water, so you are far more likely to see an excess of chlorine in your garden rather than a deficiency.
    If you determine that chlorine is at toxic levels in your garden, get a reverse osmosis unit or distiller to remove chlorine from the water you use for your plants.
    Molybdenum - (Mb) (mobile in plant, immobile in low pH soils)
    Deficiencies show up in older and middle-aged leaves first, and then show up in younger leaves.
    Molybdenum is rarely deficient in most plants, but chlorosis symptoms similar to nitrogen deficiency are typical of molybdenum deficiency, along with scorching and strapping of leaf margins.
    Molybdenum deficiency often occurs when sulfur and phosphorus are deficient. It can reveal itself as interveinal yellow spotting and mottling of older leaves. Deficiency also shows as pale leaves (similar to nitrogen deficiency), with some marginal leaf chlorosis. New leaves may twist and leaves may cup and thicken.
    Excessive molybdenum looks like iron or copper deficiency.
    Molybdenum is needed for the reduction of absorbed nitrates into ammonia prior to incorporation into amino acids. It performs this function as part of the enzyme nitrate reductase.
    In addition to direct plant functions, molybdenum is used for nitrogen fixation by nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
    Molybdenum is primarily present in the form of MoO4. Depending on the environmental conditions a molybdate ion can accept one or two protons. Polyanions such as tri- and hexamolybdate can be formed under certain physiological conditions. Molybdenum (Mo) has limited mobility in plants and is apparently transported through the xylem and phloem.
    Several enzymes are known to use Mo as a co-factor. The two most important molybdenum-containing enzymes are nitrogenase and nitrate reductase.
    Molybdenum is directly involved in the reduction of nitrogen. Nitrogen molecules bind to molybdenum atoms in the nitrogenase complex. After activation of the nitrogenase complex, the iron-molybdenum complex changes its structure and as a result reduction of nitrogen occurs. The electrons required for this reduction are supplied by an iron-sulfur protein which is part of the nitrogenase complex. This is an energy-intensive reaction.
    Nitrate reductase reduces nitrate into nitrite in the nitrogen assimilation process of the plant. Nitrate reductase contains a heme-iron molecule and two molybdenum atoms. FAD, cytochromes [Fe2/Fe3] and molybdenum [Mo(V)/(VI)] are functional parts of the nitrate reductase complex and the electron transport chain. Electrons derived from NADPH are used to reduce nitrate to nitrite. The activity of nitrate reductase is reduced during molybdenum deficiency but can be restored by adding molybdenum.
    As you can see, this hard to pronounce micronutrient is important to plant functions.
    Manganese - (Mn) (immobile in plant, immobile in high pH soils)
    Deficiencies show up on young leaves first: they develop interveinal chlorosis (yellowing between veins or mottling laterally along the leaf margins). The discoloration goes from light green to white, but veins remain green. The leaves become bronze-colored, and then die.
    Manganese becomes deficient if root zone or nutrient water pH goes much above 6.9. Severe Mn deficiencies cause necrotic leaf spot, premature leaf drop, and stunting of leaves, shoots and buds. Severe Mn deficiencies mimic magnesium deficiencies.
    Excessive manganese interferes with plant absorption of zinc and iron. It also slows overall plant growth, and causes brown spots encircled by chlorotic circles, on older leaves.
    If you are dosing plants with high amounts of calcium or phosphorus, your plants will need more manganese.
    Manganese works with plant enzymes to reduce nitrates and aids in protein production. Manganese is involved in pollen germination, plant respiration, photosynthesis, and nitrogen assimilation. It activates multiple enzymes and plays a pivotal role in the chloroplast membrane system.
    Iron - (Fe) (immobile in plant, immobile in high ph soil)
    Iron deficiency is common in many plants, especially those grown indoors.
    Deficiencies initially show as interveinal chlorosis in young leaves, with leaf veins green in color and older leaves unaffected. Leaves are smaller than normal.
    Iron deficiency is especially a problem in alkaline conditions, or in wet, poorly root zone media. Iron becomes more bioavailable when root zone and nutrient water becomes more acidic, or when the proper chelates are bound with the iron.
    Iron deficiency also reveals itself as interveinal chlorotic mottling of immature leaves. In severe cases, new leaves lack chlorophyll but show little or no necrotic spots. Chlorotic mottling of immature leaves starts first near bases of leaflets so that the middle of the leaf appears to have a yellow streak.
    Cool temperatures, high humidity and wet root zone conditions create Fe deficiencies, especially if Fe is already in short supply.
    Iron is difficult for plants to absorb and to transport. That's why you should only use Advanced Nutrients nutrient formulas- they are properly chelated for fast and easy absorption of iron and other key micronutrients.
    Plant uptake of Fe decreases with increased soil pH, and is adversely affected by high levels of available P, Mn and Zn in soils. Excessive iron causes bronzing of leaves with tiny brown spots.
    Plants use iron for protein and nucleic acid metabolism, chlorophyll formation and electron transport. Enzymes (catalase, peroxidase, cytochromes) and photosynthesis components require iron.
    The ratio of iron and sulfur available to plants directly affects their ability to take in nitrogen.
    Iron in plants and root zones are mostly found bound to chelates; that's why free iron levels are extremely low (10mM). Iron has to be reduced to Fe+ at the root surface before being transported to the cytoplasm (only grasses can absorb iron in the form of Fe3+). In the xylem iron is transported in the form of a iron-carbohydrate complex.
    Iron is a key component of formulas such as Advanced Nutrients Revive, which cause crops to come back to life after suffering stress, predator attack, disease, drought or excess heat.
    Silicon - (Si) (immobile in plant)
    Silicon is a very important plant nutrient. It is a vital component of epidermal cell walls. It strengthens plants so they can fight off diseases and resist insects, drought, heat and stress.
    The performance-enhancing benefits of potassium silicate are most easily provided by using Advanced Nutrients Barricade. Advanced Nutrients Barricade substantially strengthens plants' ability to transport nutrients and other substances in roots and internal plant cells.
    Barricade increases cell wall stability, speeds up root cell replication, builds stronger and more extensive root systems, increases nutrient absorption and resistance to stress/drought, and enhances plants' ability to resist pathogens and insects.
    Barricade contains superior forms of silica that bind with roots and cells to increase strength and function. Silica is a buffering and balancing substance that helps plants deal with potentially-toxic levels of salts, minerals and pollutants.
    Barricade will help give your plant a larger, stronger, more vigorous living infrastructure. Our studies show that using Barricade results in higher yield and better quality fruits, flowers, nuts and vegetables.
    It's hard to determine if plants have a deficiency of silicon, but regular doses of Barricade provide a wide range of benefits.
    Zinc - (Zn) (mobile in plants, immobile in high ph soils)
    Zinc deficiencies are among the more serious of micronutrient deficiencies and should be corrected as soon as they are diagnoses.
    Deficiency first shows itself as pronounced interveinal chlorosis in young leaves and mid-shoot leaves. You might also see interveinal yellowish areas starting at leaf tip and margins and eventually affecting all growing points of the plant.
    Interveinal chlorotic mottling may be mimic iron and manganese deficiencies except for that it is accompanied by tiny leaves, and rosetting (short internodes).
    Other signs of zinc deficiencies include grayish brown spots that form on leaves halfway up the plant and then spread. When zinc deficiency onset is sudden, such as when zinc is not present in the nutrient solution, the chlorosis can appear to be identical to that of iron and manganese deficiency.
    Excess zinc toxicity often looks like copper deficiency because it interferes with uptake of copper. Symptoms of some fungal and viral diseases can resemble symptoms of excess zinc, which can manifest as upward-curling leaves.
    Excess zinc can cause iron deficiencies and in extreme cases it can cause plant death, but it is uncommon to have excess zinc. One way that excess zinc can be generated is when growers use a farm feed tank or metal garbage can for nutrient water. These are often zinc coated, and the coating can come off easily and poison your plants with toxic zinc buildup.
    Also be advised that some types of manufactured lava rock root zone media contain high zinc levels.
    Zinc is essential for growth regulation and regulating carbohydrate consumption. Zinc improves chlorophyll function. It's a component in many enzymes and is important in enzyme systems, particularly for water absorption and usage. It's essential for plant hormone balance, especially auxin (IAA) activity and electron transport.
    Zinc is absorbed through roots. After it reaches the xylem it is transported as a free Zn+ ion. Plants depend on several zinc-containing enzymes, including alcohol dehydrogenase. In Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD), zinc is complexed with copper by means of a nitrogen atom from histidine. Carbonic anhydrase binds carbon dioxide, which makes it possible to reversibly store CO2 as HCO3-. This enzyme, found in the chloroplast and in the cytoplasm, consists of six subunits each of which binds a zinc atom.
    Zinc is essential for protein synthesis and for the activity of RNA polymerase. Zinc also plays a role in the synthesis of tryptophan from indol thus affecting the formation of indol acteic acid by the plant.
    Zinc is a critical miconutrient and must be properly provided to plants in a form that is bioavailable to them.
    Nutrient Information Review
    We hope that the information provided above, along with the pictures, will help you understand how to diagnose nutrient problems.
    It's important to realize that nutrients interact with each other, with root zone media and with environmental conditions.
    If you suspect a nutrient deficiency or excess, the first thing to do is a mini-flush of your root zone using Advanced Nutrients Final Phase.
    Then create a nutrient solution using an Advanced Nutrients comprehensive fertilizer such as Sensi Pro, Iguana Juice or Connoisseur.
    If you are absolutely sure that you have a nutrient deficiency, you can remediate it using Advanced Nutrients products such as Well Water Micro, Micro, and other specialty nutrient formulas.
    Damaged plants that have suffered nutrient deficiency or excess can be repaired using Advanced Nutrients products such as Barricade, Scorpion Juice, SensiZyme, Organic B, Enggy's Fulvic and Humic acids, No Shock, and Revive.
    Constantly monitor your nutrient solution pH and root zone to make sure they are between 5.8 and 6.3 pH.
    Check your plants carefully to make sure that what appear to be nutrient problems are not actually caused by pests, diseases, heat, drought or environmental stress.
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