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Testing the ability of plants to access potassium from framework silicate minerals

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David ManningORCiD, Dr Joana Baptista, Malley Sanchez Limon, Dr Kirsten BrandtORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


The availability of K, essential for plant growth, from syenite (a silicate rock in which potassium feldspar is the dominant mineral; >90 wt%), and phlogopite mica has been demonstrated using carefully designed plant growth pot experiments in which the only added source of K was the mineral of interest, with no loss of nutrients through drainage. Using pure quartz sand as a soil, both growth (increase in diameter) of leek plants and K-content of the plant material showed a dose-dependent positive response to the application (114-43000 mg K/pot) of milled syenite with increases in plant diameter of 0.5-0.7 mm/week, increasing with application rate. Phlogopite mica (114-6000 mg K/pot) supported the highest observed increase in diameter (approx. 1 mm/week) and plant K-content, both similar to that observed for a positive control (KCl). These experiments demonstrate that plants can obtain K for growth from milled syenite, in which feldspar is the dominant K-bearing mineral, and confirm previous observations that micas can be an effective source of K.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Manning DAC, Baptista J, Sanchez Limon M, Brandt K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Science of the Total Environment

Year: 2017

Volume: 574

Pages: 476-481

Print publication date: 01/01/2017

Online publication date: 14/10/2016

Acceptance date: 11/09/2016

Date deposited: 03/01/2017

ISSN (print): 0048-9697

ISSN (electronic): 1879-1026

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.09.086


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