Nutrients and beneficial elements
Plant nutrients are essential for the growth and development of plants. If a sufficient amount of them is not available, this leads to a specific deficiency symptom. Plant nutrients have at least one function within the plant, which is scientifically proven and for which purpose they cannot be replaced by any other element. If one plant nutrient is entirely absent, growth can cease and the plant cannot complete its life cycle. According to these criteria, current scientific research shows that are 14 essential plant nutrients.
Depending on whether the plant nutrients are present in larger or smaller amounts in plants, they are termed either macronutrients (requiring several kg/ha) or micronutrients (requiring several g/ha).
Furthermore, plants also absorb further elements which are not, however, essential for their growth and development, and the three aforementioned criteria for essential plant nutrients are not fulfilled. These are referred to as “beneficial elements”. In the plant, they take on important functions in yield, quality, or tolerance to stress. However, they can often also be replaced by other elements. Nonetheless, they frequently play an important and essential role in humans and animals which consume plants.