HRT 853: Plant Mineral Nutrition

Course Code: HRT 853

Credits and Offerings

  • 3 credits
  • Fall semester of odd years

Course Description

HRT 853 is a graduate level course focusing on the biophysical, biochemical, and physiological processes by which plants absorb mineral nutrients from the soil, translocate these nutrients throughout the plant, and utilize the nutrients for growth and development. 


Because the subject of plant mineral nutrition involves a broad range of disciplines such as soil science, plant physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, and biophysics, this course focuses on selected topics, such as: 

  • The uptake, translocation, and compartmentation of mineral elements
  • Root-soil interactions
  • Metabolism of mineral nutrients
  • The involvement of mineral nutrients in various physiological processes
  • Plant responses to abiotic stresses such as mineral deficiencies and toxic metals
  • New and emerging techniques used in plant nutrition research
  • Methods of plant analysis
  • The biogeochemistry of plant composition
  • Essential/beneficial and macro/micronutrient elements and their functions
  • Nutrient interactions
  • Genetics of plant nutrition
  • Plant-microbe interactions related to nutrient availability
  • Principles and modeling of nutrient transport, and rhizosphere chemistry

This course will also examine mineral nutrition of plants from molecular and cellular levels to organismal and environmental levels, with lectures by MSU faculty who view the subject globally and environmentally, at the soil/plant interface, at the whole plant level, as well as at the molecular and cellular level.  In addition, the class will discuss techniques for measuring ion transport and some of the underlying theory, including a brief introduction to the thermodynamic principles governing the transport of water and ions. Now that plant genes encoding NO3-, K+, H+, BO3-, Na+ and many other transporters have been cloned and proteins responsible for the uptake mineral nutrients by plant cells have been identified, some discussions will be of molecular-level details.