The role of potash in life is versatile. Plants, microorganisms, animals and human need potash. It occurs in nature in the form of minerals and oxidized salts. On average, its content in soils is about 1.36%. However, the form of potash that is contained in soils is inaccessible to plants, except water-soluble potassium compounds (nitrates, phosphates, sulfates, chlorides, carbonates).
Potash is an essential and irreplaceable element, without which the normal development of agricultural crops is impossible. It is absorbed by plants in greater quantities than other elements, in amounts equal to or even greater than nitrogen. This amazing mineral activates more than 60 enzymes that stimulate metabolic processes in plants, it also participates in the process of photosynthesis, supports the accumulation of vegetative mass and forms high-energy compounds (ATP). The benefits of potash for plants are enormous, as this mineral:
- supports thickening of the stem, protecting the plant from lodging;
- makes crops resistant to pathogens;
- increases resistance to drought and frost;
- facilitates more efficient absorption of nitrogen by plants, thereby preventing environmental pollution.
It should be noted that the efficiency of potash fertilizers increases with the sufficient water supply to plants.
The lack of potash slows the development of plants, disrupts metabolic processes, and reduces both productivity and quality of crop yields.
A living body contains about 0.2% of potash, and potash has a great influence on the basic functions of a living body. Potash is found mainly in the intracellular fluid (up to 95%) and plays an important role in the regulation of the acid-base balance, normalization of blood pressure and water regime.
The normal concentration of potash in human blood maintains the stability of nerve impulses and heart rhythms.
The human requirement for potash is at least 3.5 g per day. Potash salts are essential for the efficient functioning of the heart and other organs, and help to remove excess fluid from the body.
The deficiency of potash leads to muscle weakness, impaired brain function, cardiac arrhythmias, and growth retardation of children.
With sufficient potash level:
- Enzymes are activated and the protein content increases (in the grain of wheat, barley, rice, seeds of pulse crops).
- The accumulation of vegetative mass is stimulated.
- The accumulation of oil in sunflowers and rapeseeds, oil palm fruits, olives and other oilseeds is stimulated.
- The increase in the content of sugars, vitamins, carotene, organic acids is supported.
- Taste, color and structure of the pulp of fruits and berries are improved.
- Under the influence of potash fertilizers, the fiber strength and length of cotton, flax and other industrial crops are increased.
- On soils contaminated with radionuclides, potash fertilizers reduce the content of 137Cs in products in 1.5–2.7 times.