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Topic: Synthetic/Organic Nutrients  (Read 3346 times)

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Offline hiiipower

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Synthetic/Organic Nutrients
« on: July 24, 2015, 08:26:35 AM »
Having a healthy discussion with some folks about how plants uptake their nutrients, we seem to have hit a wall with our limited knowledge. Plants get their nutrients either through the organic cycle or in a bottle. Either way, nutrients(chemicals) are changed from their original form to a more plant available form to allow growth of the plant.

My question; Do plants care how those nutrients are changed(either via the organic cycle or man-made)? Pretty much, in theory, can synthetic nutrients supply a plant with the just as sufficient nutrients as the organic cycle? So far, we can't find a good modern study of this done on a side by side comparison. The studies we have found do suggest that synthetics can create just as nutrient dense/healthy food as organically grown food, however, this is not currently the norm.

At the moment we're not focused on environmental impact, pesticides, etc. of synthetic vs organic. Just want to know if there's a chemical difference(exactly what the plant receives after initial chemical breakdown) between the two different applications.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, I'm no chem student this is a subject over my head!

Thanks!

Offline Arkcon

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Re: Synthetic/Organic Nutrients
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2015, 08:49:13 AM »
You're starting to ask a good question, but you're not at an easily answerable point just yet.  Let me ask you:  which nutrient do you mean?  There is a difference, if you mean the plant's nitrogen source, or its molybdenum source or if you even mean the plant's carbon source.
Hey, I'm not judging.  I just like to shoot straight.  I'm a man of science.

Offline hiiipower

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Re: Synthetic/Organic Nutrients
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2015, 09:34:07 AM »
I mean all of the nutrients I guess. I'd like to know the differences in all of them. We've determined so far that the carbon comes from the atmosphere(photosynthesis, well at least that's what we think we know!). Is that correct? Also, I think what I'm asking is not so much what's the precise chemical difference between synthetics and organics, but does a plant care which ways it's nutrients are made available? Because once the nutrients are broken down into the plant available form, is it not the same chemical structure(for all of the different nutrients)? This would seemingly allow the plant to create nutritionally dense/healthy food in either method, not really favoring one or the other. Would that be accurate?

Offline ATMyller

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Re: Synthetic/Organic Nutrients
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2015, 03:15:04 AM »
Depends on the nutrient. Carbon cycle from natural source is the same as from synthetic. Plants can't tell the difference between atmospheric CO2 that is made by animal metabolism, volcano eruption or burning of coal.

What is more important is that the essential nutrients are in the correct proportions.
Chemists do it periodically on table.

Offline Enthalpy

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Re: Synthetic/Organic Nutrients
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2015, 02:39:26 PM »
Shall plants really need nothing more elaborate than dioxide, water and a few elements? I fear this is oversimplified because our knowledge is too short. For instance, nitrogen must be available, and for many plants, not as N2, so the detailed molecule does matter.

Offline Yggdrasil

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Re: Synthetic/Organic Nutrients
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2015, 04:02:17 PM »
In theory, plants and other organisms cannot tell whether a particular nutrient came from a synthetic source or a natural source.  Both molecules will have identical effects on the plant.

In practice, natural nutrient sources (e.g. those derive from composts and manuers) will have different compositions and forms of nutrients than those of synthetic sources, which can have important differences for plant growth.  Here's a good article from Oregon State University on the topic:
http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/node/955

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