The prerequisite for the healthy growth of crops and the production of highly nutritious foods is the intake of sufficient amounts of essential elements (large and trace elements).
The following 17 elements are necessary for crop growth: carbon (C), hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sulfur (S), magnesium (Mg) , Calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), chlorine (Cl), nickel (Ni). In addition, some plants require other elements such as sodium (Na) and cobalt (Co) in addition to the above-mentioned essential elements.
Carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen can be obtained from air and water, and are not mineral elements. Other essential elements can be divided into three categories according to the average concentration in the plant: macro elements (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium), medium elements (sulfur, magnesium, calcium) and trace elements (iron, manganese, zinc, copper, boron) , Molybdenum, chlorine, nickel).
A shortage of essential elements of a crop will affect the normal growth of the crop and thus the yield. The essential elements below the optimum amount will become the limiting factor for crop growth. Generally speaking, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are the most in short supply of nutrients, but now sulfur, zinc, and boron in soil and crops are becoming increasingly scarce, gradually becoming the new limiting factor for crop growth around the world.