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GGR205H1 (5)
Chapter 1

Textbook Chapter 1 GGR205.pdf

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Alison Smith

Textbook Chapter 1September1812947 AMSoils supply us with nearly all of our food except for what can be harvested from the oceansBiomass grown on soils is likely to become an increasingly important feedstock for fuels and manufacturing as petroleum decreasesResource base shrinking due to soil degradationurbanizationShoots plant leaves flowers stems and limbs11 Soils as a Media for Plant GrowthSoil plays 6 key rolesSupport of plant growth medium for plant roots and supply nutrient elements essential to plant soil properties often determine type of vegetation on the soilindirectly types of animals and number of people it can support plant getsPhysical support air use respiration so produce COso important 2function is ventilation soil poresWater absorb rainwater and hold it where usable to roots used in cooling nutrient transport turgor maintenance photosynthesis deep soil may store enough water to allow plant survival in long periods without rainTemperature moderation good insulatorProtection from toxins phytotoxic substances in soils may result from human activity produced by plant roots by microorganisms or natural chemical reactions good soil protects plants from toxic concentrations by ventilating gases decomposing or absorbing organic toxins or by suppressing toxinproducing organisms some microorganisms in the soil produce growthstimulating compounds that may improve plant vigourNutrient elements soils supply plants with mineral nutrients fertile soil amounts and relative proportions for optimal plant growth eg metallic elements K Ca Fe Cu and nonmetallic elements N S P B plants take these nutrients out of soil solution and incorporate them into plant tissue animals eat plants and obtain these nutrientsUnder some circumstance animals including humans satisfy craving for minerals by ingesting soil directly geophagy soil eating children and women especially pregnant more likely than men many other animals eat soil to obtain salt not humans usuallyPossible Benefits mineral nutrient supplementation especially iron detoxification of ingested poisons adsorption to clay relief from stomachaches survival in times of famine psychological comfortDownsides especially concerning surface soil parasitic worm infection lead poisoning mineral nutrient imbalances because of adsorption of some mineral nutrients and release of others premature tooth wear92 naturally occurring chemical elements17 essential elements plants cannot grow and complete their life cycles without them GGR205 Page 1
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