Forms and Functions of Phosphorus in Plants

Phosphorus, P, is the second most critical element influencing plant growth and production throughout the world. Phosphorus is taken up by plants from soil solution as primary and secondary orthophosphates anions (H 2 PO – and HPO -2) depending on the pH of the soil.

We refer to these two forms of phosphorus as phosphates which are equal in quantity when soil pH is about 7.2.

Forms and Functions of Phosphorus in Plants

1. Amount of in Plant Tissue

Amount of P in plant tissue is about 0.1 to 1.0% and it is present as an essential part of nucleoproteins in the cell nuclei, which control cell division and growth, and a portion of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecules, which carry the inheritance characteristics of living organisms.

Phosphorus is also essential component of several organic compounds in plants and animals especially the two compounds involved in energy transformation in plants, adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which supplies energy for all the numerous metabolic processes.

Phosphorus is also a component of ribonucleic acid (RNA) essential for protein synthesis. Other compounds containing P are phospho-lipids, phitin, phosphorylated sugars, nucleoprotein, nucleic acids, pyrindine nucleotides (TPN, DPN) and flavin nucleotides (riboflavin – B 2).

Read Also: Earthen Pond Management: Steps to take before putting the Fish in the Water

Functions of Phosphorus in Plants

In its many compounds phosphorus has many significant role in plants among which are:

  1.  Energy transfer reactions (TPN) in various metabolic processes in plants.
  2. Cell division and multiplication.
  3. Formation of fat and albumin.
  4.  Involvement in the conversion of starch to sugar during cell respiration.
  5.  Flowering and fruiting, including seed formation.
  6. Crop maturity in which phosphorus counteracts the effects of excess nitrogen
  7. Strengthening of cereal straws, therefore preventing lodging.
  8. Root development particularly fibrous and lateral roots.
  9. Improvement of crop quality in forages and palatability of vegetables.
  10. Increased resistance to diseases.
  11. Plants containing adequate quantities of P are beneficial to animals and humans
    for growth of bones and teeth which are mainly calcium phosphates.

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Benadine Nonye

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