Potassium symbol

The potassium symbol

Potassium (deriving from the Latin potassium) is a chemical element with the symbol K. It is an alkaline metal, silvery white in color, with a high reactivity. It occurs in nature only in the form of minerals and is very abundant in sea water. Potassium is of fundamental importance in human nutrition, especially as regards muscles and the transmission of nerve impulses; it is present in foods such as dried legumes, dried fruit, soy flour, dark chocolate, whole grains, tomato paste. Amounts of potassium can also be found in citrus-based fruit juices. As a metal, potassium has little application and is mostly used in the preparation of potassium superoxide (KO2), used as an oxidant in the chemical industry.

Effects of potassium in botany

Potassium plays a fundamental role in plant growth and promotes plant metabolic processes such as, for example, the synthesis of proteins, the synthesis of sugar and the transpiration of leaves. Regardless of the quality that is used, potassium is immediately absorbed by the roots of the plants, since the latter continue to absorb it even when the level of potassium they would need has been exceeded. For a current potassium nourishment it is better to use fertilizer because in this way it is better absorbed by the plants. In fact, exchangeable potassium, in semi-solid form that makes up volcanic soils, for example, is difficult to assimilate by the plant while soluble potassium, typical of water and the liquid part of the soil,

Excess of potassium

As already mentioned, potassium represents an extraordinary nutritional source for the plant; it contributes to the rigidity and a bright color of the leaves, an abundant flowering and the health of the woody parts. For this reason, potassium is the basic element of any fertilizer. However, if potassium deficiency can be harmful to plants, excessive administration can also be. In fact, an exaggerated potassium-based plant fertilization can cause nourishment imbalances, such as growth retardation, or an unpleasant appearance. On the contrary, the lack of potassium causes a yellowing of the leaves and a curling of the leaves, poor lignification, fruits and flowers of reduced size and with a not lively color.

Potassium symbol: Types of soil

To make an adequate use of the potassium element in the botanical field, it should be known that the need for potassium varies according to the plant and that, moreover, each soil has its own potassium characteristic. For example, in clayey soils, potassium will be present in high quantities; in soils of this type, potassium is capable of carrying out a maintenance action on the soil. Conversely, in sandy soils, potassium will be almost absent or in any case very scarce; in this case it will be necessary to add potassium, both to carry out an enrichment action and to intervene to ensure that the amount of potassium added can maintain the soil. Furthermore, depending on the type of soil, there will also be a different duration of potassium assimilation.

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