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  Section: Plant Nutrition » Macronutrients » Magnesium
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Determination of Essentiality

Historical Information
  Determination of Essentiality
Function in Plants
  Metabolic Processes
  Fruit Yield and Quality
Diagnosis of Magnesium Status in Plants
  Symptoms of Deficiency and Excess
    - Symptoms of Deficiency
    - Symptoms of Excess
  Environmental Causes of Deficiency Symptoms
  Nutrient Imbalances and Symptoms of Deficiency
    - Potassium and Magnesium
    - Calcium and Magnesium
    - Nitrogen and Magnesium
    - Sodium and Magnesium
    - Iron and Magnesium
    - Manganese and Magnesium
    - Zinc and Magnesium
    - Phosphorus and Magnesium
    - Copper and Magnesium
    - Chloride and Magnesium
    - Aluminum and Magnesium
  Phenotypic Differences in Accumulation
  Genotypic Differences in Accumulation
Concentrations of Magnesium in Plants
  Magnesium Constituents
    - Distribution in Plants
    - Seasonal Variations
    - Physiological Aspects of Magnesium Allocation
  Critical Concentrations
    - Tissue Magnesium Concentration Associations with Crop Yields
    - Tabulated Data of Concentrations by Crops
Assessment of Magnesium in Soils
  Forms of Magnesium in Soils
  Sodium Absorption Ratio
  Soil Tests
  Tabulated Data on Magnesium Contents in Soils
    - Soil Types
Fertilizers for Magnesium
  Kinds of Fertilizers
  Effects of Fertilizers on Plant Growth
  Application of Fertilizers
The word ‘magnesium’ is derived from ‘magnesia’ for the Magnesia district in Greece where talc (magnesium stone) was first mined (1,2). However, there are other cities that are also named after the magnesium deposits in local regions (3). In 1808, Sir Humphry Davy discovered magnesium, but named it magnium, because he considered magnesium to sound too much like manganese. However, in time, the word magnesium was adopted (3–6). Twenty years later, magnesium was purified by the French scientist, Bussy (7). The essentiality of magnesium in plants was established nearly 50 years later (around 1860) by scientists such as Knop, Mayer, Sachs, and Salm-Horstmar (4,8,9), and during the period 1904–1912, Willstatter identified magnesium as part of the chlorophyll molecule (3,6). For many years, magnesium was applied unknowingly to agricultural lands through manure applications or as an impurity with other processed fertilizers (10); therefore, incidences of magnesium deficiency were relatively uncommon.

One of the first mentions of magnesium deficiency in plants was in 1923 on tobacco and was referred to as ‘sand drown,’ since the environmental conditions that were associated with magnesium deficiency occurred in excessively leached sandy soils (11). Over 100 years later, magnesium has become a global concern, as scientists suggest that magnesium deficiency may be one of the major factors causing forest decline in Europe and North America (12–17). This malady may be an indirect result of the acidification of soils by acid rain, which can cause leaching of magnesium as well as other alkali metals.

Magnesium is also an essential nutrient for animals. If forage crops, commonly grasses, are low in magnesium, grazing animals may develop hypomagnesia, sometimes called grass tetany. For this reason, many studies have been conducted on magnesium nutrition in forage crops, in an effort to prevent this disorder (18–24). Based on the review of fertilizer recommendations for field soils in the Netherlands by Henkens (25), the magnesium requirement for forage crops is closely associated with the concentration of potassium and crude protein in the crop. This relationship of magnesium with potassium and crude protein (nitrogen) for animal nutrition is not much different from the magnesium-potassium-nitrogen associations in plant nutrition.


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