Abandoned termite mounds are 'islands of fertility'

Termites are considered to be ecosystem engineers. Fungus-growing termites could play an important role in soil nutrient availability and dynamics in humid and subhumid tropical ecosystems, by building numerous mounds with ...

The greening of the Earth is approaching its limit

When plants absorb this gas to grow, they remove it from the atmosphere and it is sequestered in their branches, trunk or roots. An article published today in Science shows that this fertilizing effect of CO2 is decreasing ...

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Nutrient

A nutrient is a chemical that an organism needs to live and grow or a substance used in an organism's metabolism which must be taken in from its environment. They are used to build and repair tissues, regulate body processes and are converted to and used as energy. Methods for nutrient intake vary, with animals and protists consuming foods that are digested by an internal digestive system, but most plants ingest nutrients directly from the soil through their roots or from the atmosphere.

Organic nutrients include carbohydrates, fats, proteins (or their building blocks, amino acids), and vitamins. Inorganic chemical compounds such as dietary minerals, water, and oxygen may also be considered nutrients. A nutrient is said to be "essential" if it must be obtained from an external source, either because the organism cannot synthesize it or produces insufficient quantities. Nutrients needed in very small amounts are micronutrients and those that are needed in larger quantities are called macronutrients. The effects of nutrients are dose-dependent and shortages are called deficiencies.

See healthy diet for more information on the role of nutrients in human nutrition.

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