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Biology LibreTexts

1.1: Introduction

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  • Throughout this course, you will learn about the requirements for plant survival. One of these requirements is nutrients--elements without which a plant could not complete its life cycle. There are currently 17 known essential nutrients for plants. These include macronutrients, needed in large quantities, and micronutrients, needed only in trace amounts. The dry weight of a plant is 96% carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen, macronutrients that plants can get from air and water. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are three that you will often see reported on bags of soil (NPK ratios). Calcium, magnesium, and sulfur are the final three macronutrients.

    The purpose of this experiment is to familiarize you with the process of science and observe plant nutrition in action! This process often requires a few key components: detailed observation, asking a question, doing some background research, developing a hypothesis/prediction, experimental design, collection of data, and analysis of results. To do this, we will use plants that have been bred to go through their entire life cycle in a single month: Wisconsin Fast Plants. These plants require 24 hours of light each day and do best around \(70^\circ F\) (see the seed packet for details).

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