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•  Dietary minerals are essential chemical elements

Dietary minerals are chemical elements required as essential nutrients by organisms

  • Minerals present in common organic molecules are not considered essential – e.g. C, H, O, N, S
  • Minerals include calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe), phosphorus (P), sodium (Na), potassium (K) and chlorine (Cl)

Minerals in Human Development

Some of the important functions played by minerals are listed below:

  • Major constituents of structures such as teeth and bones (e.g. Ca, P, Mg)
  • Important components of body fluids (e.g. Na, K, Cl)
  • Cofactors for specific enzymes or components of proteins and hormones (e.g. Fe, P, I)

A deficiency in one or more dietary mineral can result in a disorder (e.g. lack of calcium can affect bone mineralisation)

Summary of Dietary Minerals


Minerals in Plant Development

Minerals are also important in plant development, making fruits and vegetables a good source of certain dietary minerals

  • Magnesium is an important component of chlorophyll (required for photosynthesis)
  • Potassium is an inorganic salt found within the sap of a plant (maintains water potential)
  • Calcium is important for plant root and shoot elongation

Importance of Minerals in Plant Development

plant minerals