Physiological functions of mineral micronutrients (Cu, Zn, Mn, Fe, Ni, Mo, B, Cl)

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2009 Jun;12(3):259-66. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2009.05.006. Epub 2009 Jun 11.


Micronutrients are involved in all metabolic and cellular functions. Plants differ in their need for micronutrients, and we will focus here only on those elements that are generally accepted as essential for all higher plants: boron (B), chloride (Cl), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), nickel (Ni), and zinc (Zn). Several of these elements are redox-active that makes them essential as catalytically active cofactors in enzymes, others have enzyme-activating functions, and yet others fulfill a structural role in stabilizing proteins. In this review, we focus on the major functions of mineral micronutrients, mostly in cases where they were shown as constituents of proteins, making a selection and highlighting some functions in more detail.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Boron / metabolism
  • Chlorides / metabolism
  • Copper / metabolism
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Manganese / metabolism
  • Micronutrients / metabolism
  • Micronutrients / physiology*
  • Minerals / metabolism*
  • Nickel / metabolism
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Zinc / metabolism


  • Chlorides
  • Micronutrients
  • Minerals
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Nickel
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Boron