Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
Adjusting the soil conditions can also aid in greater nutrient uptake, allowing for optimal
rootgrowth.Whenrootscaneasily elongate andspreadthroughouttheground,thisgreatly
increases their chances of finding a good source of food and water. This occurs most in
loose soils with large soil aggregates because the large soil particles provide lots of room
for roots to move. It also provides lots of pore space for water and air. As stated before,
even if soils are somewhat compacted, the effect of electricity on soil microbes help with
creating additional pore space within the soil.
Another process that positively affects nutrient uptake is through the action of ion pumps.
When electrically stimulated, increases in metabolic activity cause more frequent ion
pumping. The result is an increase in the number of emitted hydrogen ions as a by-product
of the transport process. Simultaneously, this would result in an increase in the nutrient
uptake rate.
Remember that it's not only the external fields that cause the cellular “doorways” to
open up, but also internal changes to the cell's chemistry, too. The net effect is a
positive-feedback loop that allows the metabolism to sustain faster operation because the
root cells then allow greater amounts of nutrient ions to enter. Combining the effects of an
increased root growth along with an increase in the uptake rate subsequently results in a
larger amount of nutrient flow than either case individually.
Another aspect that adds to the system is the effect of hydrogen ion increases upon the
rhizosphere. Since releases of hydrogen ions directly affect the pH of the surrounding soil,
as covered earlier, it will (up to a point) improve the availability of ionic nutrients that
happen to be present.
Lastly, recall that the nutrient assimilation rate is also affected not only by the plant's
cellular metabolism, but also by the higher metabolic cycles of soil bacteria. Since soil
bacteria is needed to convert gaseous nitrogen to a form that plants can use, e.g. nitrates,
an increase in bacterial metabolism will cause greater amounts of nitrogen to be converted
into a form usable by plants. As long as greater amounts of it are being converted and
assimilated, less of it will be released into the atmosphere through denitrification.
Water Intake
The amount of water absorbed by the plant is also affected by the presence of electric
fields. In the process of transpiration, water moves up the plant from its roots to its leaves
in synchrony with the plant's respiration rate via turgor (water) pressure. When the plant's
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