Roots and nutrients

Did you know?

Many legumes, including soybeans, are known for their symbiotic relationship with bacteria.  Without this relationship soybeans aren’t able to acquire as much nitrogen from the air.  Nitrogen is used by all organisms to create proteins, and without a steady supply of nitrogen soybeans aren’t able to grow or produce as much fruit.  Farmers use this knowledge when planting soybeans by mixing their soybeans with an inoculant that contains millions of these bacteria that will infect the roots.  As the soybean roots grow, the bacteria will fix nitrogen into nutrients that the plant can use and the plant provide the bacteria with carbohydrates.  This symbiotic relationship is only part of how nitrogen is cycled through nature.  Soybean seeds are high in protein, which is used in human and animal food products.

  • Nitrogen: an element that is used in building proteins and other molecules in the plant.
  • Symbiotic: a relationship between two living things that benefits both individuals
  • Nodules: enlarged parts of a plant root where beneficial bacteria live
  • Inoculant: helpful bacteria containing powder or liquid