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Analysis of Essential Elements for Plants Growth Using Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis

DOI: 10.1155/2013/156520

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In this study, a total of ten essential elements for plants growth in the Guinea savanna region of Niger State in Northern Nigeria have been identified in the soils using instrumental neutron activation analysis. The experimental results show good agreement with certified or literature values within the agreed percentage range of ±2.35% to ±8.69%. However, the concentration distributions of the ten identified elements in the soil samples within the studied area for plants growth revealed the following: Fe (123.4?ppm), Mn (2100.7?ppm), K (5544.3?ppm), Al (54752.4?ppm), Ti (3082.9?ppm), Ca (4635?ppm), V (54.3?ppm), Na (857.5?ppm), Mg (13924.1?ppm), and Dy (12.1?ppm). A further analysis of the two fundamental soil physical parameters for healthy growth of some common crops like egusimelon, groundnut, rice, yams, soybeans, cassava, and potato analyzed in this work revealed a pH range of 4.0 pH–8.0 pH and a temperature range of 28.0°C to 29.3°C, which are optimal for plant nutrients availability in the soils within the study area. 1. Introduction Plants require at least sixteen elements for normal growth and completion of their life cycle. They need relatively large amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium referred to as primary nutrients usually supplied in fertilizers [1]. The three secondary elements Ca, Mg, and S are virtually required in smaller amounts. Ca and Mg are usually supplied with liming materials while S with fertilizer materials [2]. Contaminants in rainfall also supply 4.5?kg to 9.1?kg of nitrogen and sulphur per acre each year depending on the local air quality [3]. The micronutrients consist of seven essential elements which are boron, copper, chlorine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc. These elements occur in very small amounts in both soil and plants, but their role is as important as the primary nutrients [4, 5]. A deficiency of one or more of the micronutrients can lead to severe depression in growth, yield, and crop quality. Some soils do not contain sufficient amounts of these nutrients to meet the plant’s requirement for rapid growth and good production. In this case, supplemental micronutrients for rapid growth and good yield have to be applied in the form of foliar sprays with adequate knowledge of the elemental concentrations. Thus, this work seeks to analysze the essential elements for plants growth using instrumental neutron activation analysis in seven local government areas (LGAs) of Niger state, namely, Paikoro, Lapai, Mokwa, Katcha, Bida, Agaie, and Suleja local government areas of Niger State. Plants absorb the

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