Q.7:- How are the minerals absorbed by the plants?
Plants absorb their mineral salt supply from the soil through the roots from the zones of elongation and root hair. The minerals are absorbed as ions which are accumulated by the plants against their concentration in the soil. Plant shows two phases in mineral absorption – initial and metabolic. In the initial phase there is a rapid uptake of ions into outer or free space of the cells (apoplast) that comprises of intercellular spaces and cell walls. Ions absorbed in free space are freely exchangeable, e.g., replacement of unlabelled K+ ions with labelled K+ ions. In the metabolic phase the ions pass into inner space comprising of cytoplasm and vacuole. In the inner space the ions are not freely exchangeable with those of external medium. Entry of ions into outer space is passive absorption as no energy is required for it. Absorption of ions into inner space requires metabolic energy. It is, therefore, an active absorption. Movement of ions into cells is called influx while movement of ions out of the cells is called efflux.