Review article

Agronomy for Sustainable Development

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 295-309

Minerals in plant food: effect of agricultural practices and role in human health. A review

  • M. C. Martínez-BallestaAffiliated withPlant Nutrition Department, CEBAS-CSIC
  • , R. Dominguez-PerlesAffiliated withFood Science and Technology Department, CEBAS-CSIC
  • , D. A. MorenoAffiliated withFood Science and Technology Department, CEBAS-CSIC
  • , B. MuriesAffiliated withPlant Nutrition Department, CEBAS-CSIC
  • , C. Alcaraz-LópezAffiliated withPlant Nutrition Department, CEBAS-CSIC
  • , E. BastíasAffiliated withDepartamento de Producción Agrícola, Facultad de Ciencias Agronómicas, Universidad de Tarapacá
  • , C. García-VigueraAffiliated withFood Science and Technology Department, CEBAS-CSIC
  • , M. CarvajalAffiliated withPlant Nutrition Department, CEBAS-CSIC Email author 

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Interest in nutrient absorption and accumulation is derived from the need to increase crop productivity by better nutrition and also to improve the nutritional quality of plants as foods and feeds. This review focuses on contrasting data on the importance for human health of food mineral nutrients (Ca, Mg, K, Na and P) and also the trace elements considered essential or beneficial for human health (Cr, Co, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Ni, Se and Zn). In addition, environmental stresses such as salinity, drought, extreme temperatures and light conditions that affect mineral content were revised in the light that the effect of these factors depends on the species or cultivar, and the specific plant organ, as well as the intensity and duration of the stress. Differences between inorganic and organic fertilisation practices on the mineral levels were also analysed to evaluate the influence of external factors on the quality of plant-based foods.