Mineral Nutrients Required by Plants

Element Physiological Roles Deficiency symptoms
NITROGEN Proteins, chlorophyll, nucleic acids.

Cell membranes

Enzymes, coenzymes etc.

Chlorosis, Leaf fall

Stunted growth

Poor flowering

SULPHUR Amino acids; Methionine, cysteine,

Vitamins, biotin, thiamine,

Coenzymes etc.

Leaf fall,

Leaf rolling


Inhibition of apical bud

Young leaves affects first

PHOSPHORUS Proteins, nucleic acids.

Cell membranes


Oxidation reduction,


Leaf curling

Stunted growth

Poor nodulation in legumes

CALCIUM Middle lamella

Cell division

Membrane integrity,



Leaf curl

Stunted growth

Death of root and shoot tips.

Poor flowering

POTASSIUM Enzyme activation

Protein synthesis

Stomatal opening and closing

Water balance,

Carbohydrate metabolism

Chlorosis and necrosis of margins of leaves.

Die back of young shoots

Stunted growth

Older leaves affected first

Poor flowering

MAGNESIUM Chlorophyll

Ribosomal integration,

Protein synthesis,

Nucleic acid synthesis,

Enzyme activator


Leaf necrosis

Leaf fall

Stunted growth

Older leaves affected first

Poor flowering

IRON Ferredoxin, cytochromes,

Catalase, peroxidase, leghaemoglobin,

Electron transport chain, chlorophyll formation.

Necrosis of stem and leaves

Chlorosis (interveinal)

Young leaves affected first

MANGANESE Activator of enzymes; oxidases, peroxidases, dehydrogenases, decarboxylases

Chlorophyll formation

Nitrogen metabolism

Chlorosis and motteling


Browning of leaves



BORON Carbohydrate, Calcium and phosphorus metabolism

Pollen germination, fertilization

Root and shoot apices death

Stunted growth


Leaf fall

Flowering and fruiting inhibition

ZINC Enzyme activator

Carbonic anhydrase

Auxin synthesis

Tryptophan synthesis

Chlorosis (leaf margins)

Motteling and necrosis

Stunted growth

Failure of fruit set.

COPPER Enzyme activator

Oxidase, cytochrome, tyrosinase, phenolase, electron carrier, plastocyanin and plastoquinone

Chlorosis (leaf margins)

Motteling and necrosis

Stunted growth

Wilting of shoots


MOLYBDENUM Enzyme activator

Dehydrogenase, nitrate reductase, nitrogenase.

Chlorosis (leaf margins)

Motteling and curling of leaves

Failure of nodulation

Failure of leaf expansion

CHLORINE Enzyme activator for photolysis Stunted root


Wilting of leaf

SODIUM C4 and CAM pathways of carbon fixation require sodium ions (Na+)


chlorosis and necrosis, or even fail to form flowers.
NICKEL Part of Urease, nitrogen-fixing microorganisms require nickel for the enzyme Accumulate urea in their leaves and, consequently, show leaf tip necrosis.


Fig: Chlorosis; yellowing of leaves due to loss of chlorophyll


Fig: puckering, distortion, and wrinkling of the leaves.

Fig: Rolling of leaves