12.2 Essential Mineral Elements

Most of the minerals present in soil can enter plants through roots. In fact, more than sixty elements of the 105 discovered so far are found in different plants. Some plant species accumulate selenium, some others gold, while some plants growing near nuclear test sites take up radioactive strontium.

There are techniques that are able to detect the minerals even at a very low concentration (10-8 g/ mL). The question is, whether all the diverse mineral elements present in a plant, for example, gold and selenium as mentioned above, are really necessary for plants? How do we decide what is essential for plants and what is not?

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