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A solution to Pollution
A new solution has come up for high nutrient pollution and eutrophication in surface waters. Floating Treatment Wetlands (FTWs) offer promising solution and it is a built structure which measures around 3,000 sq.ft and comprises four layers: floatable bamboo at base, styrofoam second layer, a third layer of gunny bags with gravels and final layer to support cleaning agents (plants). Native plants including Vetivers, Citronella, Tulsi and Withania are being researched for use as cleaning agents. FTW works on the principle of Hydroponics which is explained in this chapter. Microbes grown on the roots of these plants break down and consume organic matter in water and reduce pollution.
As a traveller you would have got a chance to observe the plants. It is an interesting fact that all plants are not unique. Just spend some time to listen to nature. You can notice plants with attractive leaves, flowers and fruits.
Can you say all plants are healthy and uniform in growth? Some plants are not healthy and show symptoms like texture changes, stunted growth, chlorosis, necrosis and so on. Can you tell what is the reason for all these symptoms? It may be due to infection of microbial pathogens or climatic factors or due to mineral deficiency.
In this chapter we are going to learn about classification of minerals, their functions, deficiency diseases and symptoms, nitrogen metabolism and special modes of nutrition. Further, how can these ideas help us to improve productivity in agriculture?
Plants naturally obtain nutrients from atmosphere, water and soil. Carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are called as skeletal elements and constitute about 94% of dry weight. These elements play an important role in the formation of organic compounds such as carbohydrates, fats and protein. These non-mineral elements are obtained from air and water. Minerals are classified based on essentiality. Arnon and Stout (1939) gave criteria required for essential minerals:
1. Elements necessary for growth and development.
2. They should have direct role in the metabolism of the plant.
3. It cannot be replaced by other elements.
4. Deficiency makes the plants impossible to complete their vegetative and reproductive phase.
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