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Chapter 23

Molecular Physiology
of Mineral Nutrient
Acquisition, Transport,
and Utilization

 

Plants use a wide range of mechanisms and responses to acquire essential mineral nutrients from the soil and to tolerate toxic soil environments. Some of these approaches are exceptionally complex. Diverse, nutrient-specific strategies allow terrestrial plants to increase the availability of sparingly soluble essential minerals in the soil, transport them into the root, and translocate them to critical sites throughout the plant. Plants also must regulate the acquisition of potentially toxic but essential elements such as Fe and Zn to prevent both nutrient deficiency and metal toxicity.
      The field of plant mineral nutrition, rooted in physiological investigations, has recently moved into a new era of discovery, in which molecular research approaches are being applied to questions of mineral nutrition. A current challenge faced by plant scientists is to integrate the information gained from molecular dissections of these intricate processes with previous and current research into the physiology of mineral nutrition at the levels of cell, organ, and whole plant. The ultimate goal of this work is to further the scientific understanding of how intact plants grow, whether in a farmer’s field or in a native ecosystem.


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