Plant Nutrition


Plant Science 5430 / 6430; FALL SEMESTER ONLY (alternate odd years)
INSTRUCTOR: Bruce Bugbee

REQUIRED TEXT Mineral Nutrition of Higher Plants, 2nd ed. Horst Marschner Academic Press.
OVERVIEW Plant nutrition is the study of how plants acquire and utilize essential mineral elements from their environment. Plants have had to develop mechanisms to concentrate elements from dilute solutions without accumulating toxic amounts of other elements. The study of plant nutrition includes the study of energy tradeoffs in plants: How can plants trade the carbon fixed in photosynthesis for the nutrients they need. Plant nutrition includes the study of nutrient transformations at the root surface, but does not include the study of nutrient reactions in soils.

EXAMINATIONS There will be a midterm and a final exam. The dates of the exams are indicated in the lecture schedule. Research problems: There will be two library research problems (25 points each). These problems will account for 1/6th of the grade.

LABORATORY There is no formal laboratory associated with this course, but each student will do an individual project in which you examine some aspect of plant nutrition related to your thesis research. This individual project will begin in the first few weeks of the semester and will count 1/6th of your grade. Each student will present the results of their project during the last week of class. A written report, in Journal format, will be due on the last day of class. We will be demonstrating nutrient deficiencies and toxicities with plants grown in hydroponics in the Research Greenhouses. You will be expected to identify classic deficiency and toxicity symptoms as part of the exams.

SUPPLEMENTAL READING Supplemental reference materials will be put on reserve in the library.

GRADING Students will be scored on a curve according to z score. Scores above the mean of the class will be A's, scores below the mean will be B's. Any score more than one standard deviation below the mean will be a C.
Midterm exam: 100
Final Exam: 100
Individual Lab Project: 50
2 Library Problems (25 each): 50
Total: 300

LIBRARY PROBLEM OUTLINE There will be 2 library problems during the quarter, which are designed to do 3 things:

Provide experience in locating relevant literature in the library. Sometimes this will be recent literature.
Provide experience in discussing and summarizing evidence on controversial topics.
Teach you something about critical topics in plant nutrition.

Your written report will have three sections:

Summary of the problem (1 paragraph, no citations)
Literature review with citations
Conclusion (1 paragraph) Your response must be a maximum of two double-spaced typed pages (with 12 point font). The third page will be literature citations. Include a maximum of 8 citations. Photocopy the first page of each cited article and include it at the end of your report. Your work must be your own, including the literature search. You will be graded on the clarity, conciseness, and insight of your answer.