Functions of Mg in plants

Concentrations of Mg++ in plant tissue are variable but always rather high. Since 70% or more is freely diffusible (Mengel and Kirkby 1978), Mg++ must have the highest chemical activity of any divalent cation in the cytoplasm. Depending on the relative abundance of K+, it will also contribute to neutralization of sugar phosphate, sugar nucleotides, and organic and amino acids. The first important property of Mg++ is the relatively high solubility of its salts. Mg++ has a structural role in chlorophyll, is required for ribosomal integrity, and undoubtedly contributes to the structural stability of nucleic acids and membranes. There is evidence that fluxes of Mg++ can serve to regulate enzyme activity, as occurs with the light-activated increase in CO2 fixation by chloroplasts (Walker 1974). The mobility of Mg++ is a distinguishable property (Clarkson and Hanson 1980).

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