Functions of Nitrogen
In natural ecosystems, many processes, such as primary production and decomposition, are limited by the available supply of nitrogen. In other words, nitrogen is often the limiting nutrient, the nutrient that’s in shortest supply and thus limits the growth of plants and other organisms.
Nitrogen forms 16% if all plant proteins and it is a vital component in chloroplasts – the factories that synthesize energy from sunlight.
Nitrogen forms the basis of amino acids and proteins in plants and it is an important constituent of DNA, RNA and enzymes.
As Nitrogen is critical for plant growth, farmers have traditionally actively applied industrial Nitrogen fertilizers. In same cases that has led to excess of Nitrogen. Excessive accumulation of Nitrogen in plants hinders Calcium and Potassium intake and may cause problems for human health and environment.
High levels of atmospheric nitrogen are associated with production of acid rain in the form of nitric acid HNO3 and contributions to the greenhouse effect as a nitrous oxide N2O. Nitrogen comprises the smallest percentage of the three green house gases but it is 310 times more potent than CO2.
Farmers can save costs by tapping into Nitrogen that is in the atmosphere. There is 74 000 tons of Nitrogen in a gas form above every hectare.
Symptoms of Nitrogen deficiency in plants
Symptoms of excessive Nitrogen in plants
|Yellowing older foliage
|Potassium and Calcium are deficient
|Reduced plant/leaf size
|Extremely dark green leaves
|“Burning” of leaf tips, causing them to turn brown
|Dwarfed plant growth
|Some leaves turning yellow, due to abundance of nitrogen but lack of other nutrients
|Thin and upright habit