Nutrient Interactions

13.07.2020 – Plants need all nutrients to exploit their full yield and quality potential. Every nutrient is involved in multiple different metabolism processes and only a complete nutrient supply with macro, secondary and micronutrients enables optimum plant growth. Nutrients also interact during uptake or inside the plant, which means they can either have synergistic (promoting) or antagonistic (inhibiting) effects. For these reasons you need to pay special attention to a well-balanced crop nutrition.



Examples for synergistic and antagonistic nutrient interactions


Synergistic interaction: One nutrient increases the availability of another nutrient in the soil, it promotes its uptake into the plant, or it enhances its function in plant metabolism.


Sulphur and Nitrogen:

  • Sulphur promotes the function of Nitrogen in protein synthesis. Both elements are constituents of proteins and if Sulphur is deficient, protein formation will be limited.
  • Sulphur increases the efficiency of Nitrogen fertilization, as Sulphur is needed for nitrate reduction. In case of Sulphur deficiency, nitrate will accumulate inside the plant and growth will be depressed.


Manganese and Nitrogen:

  • Manganese promotes the efficiency of Nitrogen in protein synthesis, as it is a constituent or activator of involved enzymes and thus needed for protein formation.


Calcium and Boron:

  • Boron and Calcium are both constituents of cell walls. They support cell wall and cell membrane stability as well as functionality and thus promote fruit quality.
  • Calcium and Boron both promote cell elongation to increase fruit size.
  • The combination of Calcium with Boron is known to inhibit the formation of the plant growth substance ethylene. Low ethylene levels will lead to increased fruit set or less pod abortion in soybeans.


Phosphorus and Boron:

  • Phosphorus and Boron are promoting root growth.
  • Boron enhances pollen tube germination and thus fruit set. Phosphorus is also needed for flower formation and fruit set.



Antagonistic interaction: One nutrient decreases the availability of another nutrient in the soil, it inhibits its uptake into the plant, or it impedes its function in plant metabolism.


Potassium / Calcium and Magnesium

  • High amounts of Potassium or Calcium can induce Magnesium deficiency. Potassium and Calcium ions inhibit the uptake of Magnesium ions as these elements are competing in uptake.


Phosphorus and Zinc (and other microelements)

  • High soil Phosphate contents reduce the availability of Zinc due to the formation of poorly soluble Zinc phosphates.


Calcium and Phosphorus

  • Calcium and Phosphorus build poorly soluble and thus poorly plant available Calcium phosphates in the soil.



Promote synergistic and overcome antagonistic interactions


The scientists Justus von Liebig and Carl Sprengel determined that plant growth is not controlled by the total amount of resources available, but by the scarcest resource. That means that the nutritional element that is available in the lowest amount will be the limiting factor for crop yield, no matter how much of the other nutrients are present. The plant will not be able to increase its productivity without receiving a higher amount of this limiting nutrient.


This yield limiting undersupply with one or several nutritional elements can also arise from antagonistic nutrient interactions, which can, in turn, be promoted by single nutrient applications.


With a balanced nutrition provided by WUXAL foliar fertilizers that contain the complete range of nutrients in one formulation, you can make sure that your plants are well supplied with all nutrients and increase their performance. WUXAL supports plant growth, yield and quality with formulations that promote synergistic and overcome antagonistic effects.




Properties of WUXAL Foliar Fertilizers


  • Well-balanced nutrient formulations instead of single nutrient solutions
  • Specific nutrient combinations with synergistic effects
  • Plant available nutrients for quick uptake
  • Effective nutrient supply via the foliage, independently of nutrient antagonisms in the soil

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