Plant analysis as a means of understanding plant physiology perhaps started with de Saussure (21). With plant analysis, de Saussure corrected the misunderstanding at the time that the mineral matter of plants had no importance. He showed that the mineral matter in plants came from the soil and not from the air and that little growth of plants occurred if they were grown in distilled water. Through plant analysis, he also demonstrated that plants absorbed minerals in ratios that differed from the proportions existing in solution or in soil and that plants absorbed substances from solution, whether the substances were beneficial to the plants or not.
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