Podcast – Boron Essential for Healthy Plants

Apr 20, 2022 | FOOD SECURITY, Agriculture, Crop Management

Boron Essential for Healthy Plants

Welcome back to the Borates Today podcast. Each week we cover a topic that is relevant to the industry and timely. We cover the latest industry news. Who are the key players in the sector? What are the latest trends, driving demand and supply for boron. What is the science behind boron and who’s doing valuable research into new boron applications and benefits.

Today, we’re going to look at whether boron is essential for plants and healthy plant growth. Boron is a vital nutrient for plants. It plays a crucial role in regulating the development of root and shoot Meristem. And this helps complete the life cycles of plants from seed germination all the way through to a fully grown plant.

Well, what is boron? It’s a trace element, which was first discovered in the 1920s to have benefits for plants. It’s found in a variety of rocks and soils, and is an essential element required for plant production. Scientists believe that borne helps plants stay under water. However we now know that boron plays a significant role in driving the evolutionary change of plants from aquatic to terrestrial habitats.

In land plants, boron is involved in various processes including cell division, maintaining stem cell activity, hormone generation, metabolism and transport. We’re on also plays a role in nucleic acid synthesis, phenolic metabolism, carbohydrate, biosynthesis, and translocation., Pollen tube growth, route elongation, and lowering IAA oxidase activity.

What about the transportation of boron inside plants? Well, the primary source of boron for plants is soil. Plants take up this nutrient through their roots and the mechanism to absorb nutrients like boron into plant cells is defined as passive diffusion. Lipid bilayers allow Boron to pass through them via passive transport i.e. distribution and other transport mechanisms.

These boron transporters can be defined as follows. The presence of B specific transporters or Boron specific transporters has been confirmed not only in the roots, but also in the leaves and reproductive organs using a combination of genetic and biochemical techniques. The activity of boron and transporters is strictly regulated by response to the bore on levels in soil solution.

Plants regulate the expression of major intrinsic proteins MIPs and boric acid Borate transporters to control the capture and transportation. The major B transporters are found in the Nodulin 26-like intrinsic protein (NIP) including the root transporters NIP5;1 (boric acid channel) and BOR1 (boric acid/borate exporter, which are thought to be crucial for maintaining Boron homeostasis. In low boron soil solutions, plants enhance the expression of NIP5;1 and decrease the expression of BOR1. This causes an increase in born accumulation in roots, which leads to a rise in boron uptake. The transporter BOR-4, on the other hand, is involved in B toxicity tolerance toxicity tolerance when there’s an excess of boron or when born is excluded from cells and tissues.

Furthermore NIP6;1 corresponds to a channel facilitating Boron permeability across the plasma membrane and is entirely impermeable. This transporter is primarily found in the stem nodes, especially the phloem. Thus land plants have a complex born absorption and transportation system based on the nip and Bor families with nip five isoform expression, strongly stimulated in both roots and shoots.

As for the translocation of born inside plants, transpiration promotes boron translocation across the xylem cells after adsorption by the roots. Differential boron tolerance is also related to the ability to restrict nutrient translocation from roots to shoots permitting a considerable Boron accumulation in the roots.

In locations in plants with high levels of boron, plants with this potential have been recommended for phytoremediation. Boron may also be transported by the phloem allowing it to move between vegetative and reproductive tissues. So this varies significantly between species.

Boron complexation with polyols contributes to mobility. As a result, Boron is relatively stable and phloem in restricted mobility plants. So the most common deficiency symptom is shown in young leaves and meristematic tissue, which is linked to the death of the apical. Meristem. Furthermore in some plants, species such as apples and nectarines, our Arabidopsis, and citruses, boron can be delivered in sufficient quantities to meet plant needs.

Turning to developmental transitions, which are helped by boron, as we know, nutrients are necessary for plants to grow and develop. Without them plants won’t be able to make seeds or flowers. So land plants must go through development transitions to complete their life cycle. And these transitions are controlled by cell proliferation and differentiation.

Boron is an essential nutrient for healthy plant growth in this respect.. At the young embryos stage, the boron regulates asymmetric cell division. If there is a deficiency of boron, there is less cell division resulting in a rootless plant. In adult plants, boron transports into shoot apical meristem and the boron deficiency can cause a lack of shoot apical. meristems. So these changes in boron transport calls the plant to flower later than usual.

Plant root growth is controlled by signals coming from the roots themselves. And so to grow, plants need to absorb nutrients from the soil. The plants will sense when there are enough nutrients available. And when the nutrient count is low, the plant sends out chemical signals to tell other parts of the plant, how much nutrition is needed, these chemical messages, traveling along the length of the plant by the xylem system.

Is too much of born, a bad thing? Well, plants need nutrients such as boron to grow. But too much more on can make them stop growing. When plants get stressed, they produce less BRM, which means less boron gets into the cells. This prevents plants from making flowers. Flowers are singular organs representing the final development stages of a plant. And it’s not surprising that efforts have been made to understand flower development. It’s an understudied field of plant biology. NIP7;1 is a facilitator of boron transport. Mutants show defective reproductive structures so it’s critical to maintaining an appropriate B-level in both meristems and reproductive organs.

The importance of boron and plant growth and development has garnered a lot of attention in recent years. Boron resists drought stress, increases the absorption of nutrients and maintains the cell walls integrity. It’s also required for legume crop nitrogen fixation and nodulation. When plants are deprived of Boron, they may become stunted, twisted, or even die due to lack of nutrition.

Also, significant progress has been made in understanding the need for this Boron element for land plants. While it’s required for photosynthesis, in sufficient levels can stifle growth and cause poor root development, as we’ve noted earlier. Plants with low boron levels are more susceptible to damage from high light intensity, long days and high energy. Boron transportation inside the roots may also be hindered by the low soil temperatures.

📍 In sum, despite all the studies pointing to the benefits of boron plant growth there is still some controversy about whether or not Boron is essential. More research will clearly help to progress the debate.

And that’s all from Borates Today. For more information on plants and boron in plants, please refer to the Borates Today website.

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