PLANT SC 3505WT - Soil and Plant Nutrition
Waite Campus - Semester 2 - 2014
General Course Information
Course Code PLANT SC 3505WT Course Soil and Plant Nutrition Coordinating Unit School of Agriculture, Food and Wine Term Semester 2 Level Undergraduate Location/s Waite Campus Units 3 Contact Up to 6 hours per week Incompatible PLANT SC 3004WT Assumed Knowledge PLANT SC 2510WT, SOIL&WAT 2500WT or SOIL&WAT 2500 Course Description The focus of this course is the influence of mineral nutrients to the health of plants. The course will examine the factors that determine the availability of mineral nutrients in soil, their uptake and use by plants. The diagnosis of soil nutrient availability and plant nutrient stress will also be examined. The interaction of mineral nutrients with biotic and abiotic stresses and the role of plant mineral nutrition in human health will also be discussed.
Course Coordinator: Dr Glenn McDonald
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning Outcomes
1 Acquire knowledge and understanding of the chemical processes in soils that influence mineral nutrient availability 2 Develop an understanding of how mineral nutrients are taken up by plants, transported and assimilated by plants. 3 Develop an understanding of how mineral nutrients interact with important abiotic and biotic stresses 4 Understand the role of mineral nutrients in the quality of the harvested product. 5 Develop an understanding of how the nutrient status of plants is diagnosed by soil and plant analysis and the strengths and weaknesses of different methods 6 Acquire knowledge of the importance of fertiliser formulation to soil nutrient availability 7 To develop skills in sampling soil and plant tissues for routine analysis and diagnosis of nutrient status 8 Develop skills in interpreting the results of soil and plant analyses 9 Develop a critical approach to data analysis and interpretation 10 Promote the ability to work co-operatively as a member of a group
University Graduate Attributes
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:
University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s) Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 6,8,9 An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 1,2,3,4,9,10 Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 10 A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 5,6,7 A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 9
Required ResourcesGlasshouse space for growing plants for practicals
Access to plant analysis facilities (currently achieved by using Waite Analytical Services)
Access to orchards
Recommended ResourcesThere is no standrd text for the course, but the following references are used:
(1) Marschner, H. (2012). Marschner’s Mineral Nutrition of Higher Plants. (3rd ed) Academic Press, London.
(2) Reuter D R and Robinson J. B (1997) Plant analysis: an interpretation manual (2nd edition). CSIRO Publishing
(3) Asher, C, Grundon N, and Menzies, N (2002) How to unravel and solve soil fertility problems (ACIAR Monograph No 83)
(4) Peverill K, Sparrow LA and Reuter DJ (1999) Soil Analu=ysis:L an Interpreation Manual (CSIRO: Collingwood, Australia)
Online LearningThe lectures and practicals will be posted on MyUni. Other material that support student learning, but which is not a core component of the lectures and practicals, will also be made available. These include links to websites that provide additional information supporting lectures and practicals.
A diagnostic key to idnetify plant nutrient stress has been developed in Articulate Storyline
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching ModesLectures are used to provide basic information about key concepts and important characteristics of agricultural systems.
Tutorials serve to reinforce and extend some of the ideas raised in the lectures and practicals. They are also designed to allow students to
Practical classes are used to illustrate some of the principles described in the lectures. The students work in small groups of 2-3 students which also help to build teamwork and to foster the relationships between students.
A small independent project requires students to take samples of plant, food or beverage for nutrient analysis that addresses a specific question or problem. It is designed to get stduents to think about sampling an to give them experiuence in interpreting and presenting nutrient analysis data.
A number of visits to commercial growers and industry are used to illustrate the applciation fothe principles of soil and plant nutrition in a commerciual context.
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.The course will be 6 contact hours per week which will include 2 lectures and a practical. In some weeks a tutorial will be run on specific topics. There are 4 short practical reports required. Students also engage in a small project based on collection and analysis of plkant samples. There are a number of field excusrions to illustratae applications of the principles and practices examined in the lectures and practicals
Learning Activities Summary
LECTURES Week Lecture 1 Soil testing: Principles of soil sampling and soil chemical testing to assess nutrient status of soils. 2 Behaviour of fertilizers in soils: Macro- and micronutrient fertilizers, their reactions in soils and principles of fertilizer application. 3 Soil organic matter and soil fertility: the role of organic matter in soil fertility, managaing soil organic matter, greenhouse issues and biochar use. 4 Nutrient movement through soil and uptake by plants: How nutrients move to the root surface and the environmental influences on movement; the uptake of nutrients by roots and by leaves. 5 Assimilation of nutrients (Macronutrients): The functions and metabolism of macronutrients and the consequences for plant growth and composition. This will be based on case studies on N and P 6 Assimilation of nutrients (Micronutrients): The functions and metabolism of micronutrients and the consequences for plant growth and composition. This will be based on case studies on Zn and Mn 7 Diagnosis of nutrient stress: The basis of plant tissue analysis; derivation of critical levels of nutrients; the strengths and weaknesses of tissue analysis; sampling issues. 8 Nutrient balances and correction of deficiencies; nutrient use efficiency: Calculation of nutrient balances and their applications to nutrient management; alternative approaches to nutrient management; defining nutrient use efficiency, current levels of efficiency and the factors that influence nutrient use efficiency 9 Breeding for nutrient stress and nutrient use efficiency: Exploiting genetic variation in tolerance to nutrient stress to improve plant nutrient status and efficient use of fertiliser. Genetic control of important nutritional characteristics of plants 10 Plant nutrients and biotic and abiotic stress: The physiological bases of the interaction between plant nutrient status and the ability to tolerate important abiotic and biotic stresses and how this can be exploited to manage stress in plants. 11 Plant nutrition, product quality and human health: The role of plant nutrition in determining the end-use quality of plant products. The role of biofortification in improving human health 12 Organic and recycled nutrient use: The similarities and differences of nutrient availability in organic systems; the role of water and nutrient recycling in meeting future needs
Practical 1 Soil sampling and analysis for soil P concentrations. The aim of this practical is to provide students with an appreciation of spatial variability in soil properties that influence nutrient availability and uptake as well as the interpretation of soil tests. 2 Derivation of a critical level of nitrate in plants: students set up an experiment in two species to examine the response to N. The practical illustrates the general response curve. From severe deficiency to toxicity as well as allows them to derive the critical level for a nutrient. 3 Responses to form and rate of P : Responses to soluble and insoluble forms of P in white lupin, wheat and canola are compared. The experiment demonstrates (a) the effect soil nutrient availability on response to a nutrient, (b) genetic variation in response to a nutrient; (c) nutrient use efficiency 4 Effect of form of N on rhizosphere pH: The practical shows how plants respond to different forms of nutrient and illustrates the root adaptations that maintain nutrient uptake.
Demonstrations & tutorials 1 Visual symptoms of nutrient stress 2 Calculations of nutrreient balkances 3 Interpretations of tissue analyses
Small Group Discovery ExperienceStudents are asked to used plant nutrient analysis to examine a specific question related to nutrition. Students gropups work independently on a small project which had a nominal budget which restricits the number of samples they bneed to take.
The objectives of this project are to:
1. Develop an appropriate sampling strategy to diagnose a problem or test a hypothesis within the limits of their budget
2. Interpret data on nutrient concentrations.
3. Present this information to a general audience
Working in pairs:
1. Identify a question or a problem that is of interest to you from the list below:
a. Diagnosis of poor or uneven growth in plants, crops, pastures or perennials that may be related to a nutritional problem
b. Spatial variation in nutrient concentrations and growth or quality
c. Characterising the nutrient content of grain, fruits or vegetables produced under different production systems
d. Variation in mineral levels of wine
e. Variety or species differences in nutrient concentrations
f. Effects of management practices on nutrient uptake and concentrations
2. Develop a sampling strategy which will allow you to test your idea or to diagnose a problem.
3. Collect samples for analysis and submit them
4. Collect additional information that will assist with interpretation of the data
5. Summarise and interpret the nutrient analysis data
6. Prepare a presentation or report on the results and conclusion
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Learning Outcome Pratical reports (4) Summative and formative
Approx every 2-3 weeks in the first half of semester
35% 1,2,3,5,7,8,9,11 Plant nutrition project Summative and formative Week 12 15% 7,8,9,10,11 Tutorial questions Formative Various times during semester 0% 5,6,8,9 Final exam Summative Exam period 50% 1,2,3,4,5,8,9,11
Assessment Detail1. Practical reports
Four short reports based on the results of the practical exercises. Using collated class data students are required to use statisitcal analysis to assit witht the interpretation of the results and provide a brief critical analysis of the data.
2. Plant nutrition project
Students working in small groups select a topic that they are interested in and which is related to the application of plant analysis to address a problem or question. They devise a sampling procedure and submit samples for analysis. Students then need to summarise and interpret their results
3. Tutorial questions
There will be a small number of informal tutorials that are integrated into the practicals. This will be involved in diagnosis of nutrient stresses, interpretations of tissue analyses and calculations of nutrient balances.
4. Final exam
A theory exam at the end of the semester s based on material covered in lectures and practicals. Questions include problems realted to intepretation and analysis of data, short answer and extended answer questions.
SubmissionAll material that is handed in for assessment is submitted electronically. Cover sheet are available on MyUni.
The aim is provide feedback and marks on the assessment within 2 weeks after submission. Rubrics and mark sheets as well as additional comments on the work are used to provide feedback to students
Late submission will incur a penalty which is generally 10% per day to a maximum of 50%. The assessor may elect not to accept an assignment a student submits after the deadline
Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:
M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme) Grade Mark Description FNS Fail No Submission F 1-49 Fail P 50-64 Pass C 65-74 Credit D 75-84 Distinction HD 85-100 High Distinction CN Continuing NFE No Formal Examination RP Result Pending
Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.
Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.
Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.
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