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Zinc

Functions of Zinc

Zn plays a vital role in several plant physiological functions. Carbohydrate, protein, and chlorophyll formation is significantly reduced in zinc-deficient plants. Zinc deficiency is common on calcareous, high pH, eroded and land-levelled soils.

Zinc is also an essential nutrient for animals, functioning in enzyme systems and being involved in protein synthesis, carbohydrate metabolism, and many other biochemical reactions. A Zinc deficiency causes different pathological changes, including skin parakeratosis, reduced or cessation of growth, general debility, lethargy, and increased susceptibility to infection.

In surface and groundwater, Zn enters the environment from various sources but predominately from the erosion of soil particles containing Zn. In excess amounts, Zinc is toxic for micro-organisms.

 

Sings of Zinc deficiency in animals

Signs of Zinc deficiency in plants

Skin parakeratosis Reduced growth
Reduced growth Stunned roots
Low fertility in males Fungal diseases
Slow calving Malformed leaves
Scabs on teats Leaves with chlorosis
Lethargy Leaves with necrotic spots
Symptoms of Zinc deficiency in a orange tree.

Zinc as a chemical element

Zinc is a chemical element with the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. Zinc is a slightly brittle metal at room temperature and has a blue-silvery appearance when oxidation is removed.

Zinc is required for the function of over 300 enzymes and 1000 transcription factors, and is stored and transferred in metallothioneins. It is the second most abundant trace metal in humans after iron and it is the only metal which appears in all enzyme classes.

Chemical properties of Zinc