Alfalfa and potassium: It's complicated

Has anyone ever told you to eat a banana when you have a muscle cramp or eye twitch? That's because bananas have potassium. Potassium is an important nutrient for humans, and an even more important nutrient when it comes ...

Chemical element potassium detected in an exoplanet atmosphere

A team of astronomers led by AIP Ph.D. student Engin Keles detected the chemical element potassium in the atmosphere of an exoplanet, for the first time with overwhelming significance and applying high-resolution spectroscopy. ...

Dangerous wild grass will be used in batteries

Hogweed, which grows over vast areas of Russia, can be useful as a material for batteries. Scientists from NUST MISIS have investigated the possibilities of fibrous substances in the plant stems. They have turned them into ...

New way to bump off ticks: Dry up their saliva

Saliva from a tick's bite can transmit pathogens that cause serious illnesses, such as Lyme disease, and significant agricultural losses. Current insecticides have drawbacks, so scientists have been seeking new ways to prevent ...

Potassium hunting on protein factories

Groundbreaking research at the new long-wavelength macromolecular crystallography beamline (I23) at Diamond Light Source has for the first time demonstrated the location of potassium ions in bacterial ribosomes. Ribosomes ...

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Potassium

Potassium (pronounced /pɵˈtæsiəm/) is the chemical element with the symbol K (Latin: kalium, from Arabic: القَلْيَه‎ al-qalyah “plant ashes”, cf. Alkali from the same root), atomic number 19, and atomic mass 39.0983. Potassium was first isolated from potash. Elemental potassium is a soft silvery-white metallic alkali metal that oxidizes rapidly in air and is very reactive with water, generating sufficient heat to ignite the evolved hydrogen.

Potassium in nature occurs only as ionic salt. As such, it is found dissolved in seawater, and as part of many minerals. Potassium ion is necessary for the function of all living cells, and is thus present in all plant and animal tissues. It is found in especially high concentrations in plant cells, and in a mixed diet, it is most highly concentrated in fruits.

In many respects, potassium and sodium are chemically similar, although they have very different functions in organisms in general, and in animal cells in particular.

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