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The Role of Nickel Fertilizers in Plant Growth and Agriculture

Explore the vital role of nickel in plant growth, its optimal use in agriculture, and the impacts of its deficiency and excess on crop productivity.

Table of Contents

Nickel is an essential micronutrient or nanonutrient that promotes the growth of crops and improves their production. Some plant families, such as temperate cereal crops, are dominant in need of Nickel for their effective growth pattern. These are important as nitrogen fixers for developing seeds and improving microbe levels. Plants require a specific amount of Nickel for the normal functioning of the plant parts. 

In this article, I will share a detailed analysis of the roles and importance of nickel elements or fertilizers in improving agricultural productivity. Aside from this, I will emphasize Nickel’s deficiency and overdose effects with its benefits in plants. 

Sources of Nickel for Plants

Sources of Nickel for Plants

The content of Nickel is present in the fertilizers. The irrigation water includes this concentration of Nickel that promotes the production. It can also be applied in the cheated form and used with Sulfate combinations. Moreover, it is also supplied to the plants in liquid form, preferably through the foliar method. Naturally, it is present within the soil and water. 

Natural Sources

The natural sources of Nickel are manure, brassicas, water, soil, and dead plant remains. These elements are readily uptake by the plants. 

Most Useable Form of Nickel

The plants use soluble forms of Nickel, which is the most soluble form of fertilizer. Nickel is highly useful and passively absorbed by the plants using the cation system. 

Safe Nickel Limits for Plants

However, plants require Nickel in adequate amounts for proper functioning. The safest limit of Nickel for the plants is 1.5 μg g−1. If the soil already contains a balanced amount of Nickel, then there’s no need to add it further in the form of fertilizers. The limit of Nickel in soil is 75 and 150 μg g−1. To add a nickel to the plants, you must first take a soil test and then proceed for safe nickel addition in the soil.

Brief Analysis of the Roles of Nickel in Agricultural Productivity

Nickel is one of the essential nutrients plants require to perform important duties in their growth. They increase the overall productivity and are Important in plant development as well. Some of the most prominent roles of the Nickel in Agriculture are as follows: 

  • Improvement of Soil Fertility

Nickel fertilizers promote the soil fertility level up to the mark that shows the high growth of plants. It noticeably Increases the level of nutrients in the soil. It reduces the level of toxic components in the soil. It is an essential element that improves and regenerates the soil. 

  • Act as a Cofactor

Nickel acts as a cofactor for converting urea to ammonium ions and provides nitrogen sources to plants. That’s why these act as enzymes to perform various functions in the plant body. It’s a great source of nitrogen in plants. If there’s no nickel within the plant body, then the heavy particles of the urea will accumulate within the plant parts and can cause toxicity within the plants.

  • Develops Seeds

Nickel plays an important role in the development of the seeds. These seeds will germinate into healthy plants. Seed development is necessary to form a healthy plant. 

  • Nodulation

It improves the nodulation of the plants, thus improving the overall productivity of the Crops. The root nodules promote growth by improving the relationships of roots with the healthy bacteria within the soil. It’s helpful to develop new root organs within the plants as well. It promotes the bacteria; the nitrogen is made available to the plants using bacteria. 

  • PhytoSanitary Effect

Nickel contains the property of fighting against pathogens. It improves the plant’s resistance to diseases and pests. Nickel itself acts as a sanitary agent for the plants. They improve the plants’ productivity by stopping the uptake of toxic nutrients and preventing them from pathogens. 

  • Promotes Growth Of Microbes

Nickel promotes the growth of healthy microbes within the soil. These microbes improve the soil’s structure and effectively work for plant growth. It improves the ongoing biological processes that are concerned with microbial associations. 

Prominent Role of Nickel in Agricultural Soil

Prominent Role of Nickel in Agricultural Soil

There’s the right quantity of nickel present in the parent soil. Usually, the preferred concentrations are 30 to 50 ppm. The nickel uptake in Agricultural soil is also affected by environmental conditions such as dry and hot conditions. The presence of Nickel within the soil is also helpful in the uptake of other essential nutrients from the soil. It improves the fertility of the soil and maintains the soil structure.

Crops that Contains High Amounts of Nickel

The following are the vegetables that contain high amounts of Nickel. These are as follows:

  • Cabbage
  • Spinach
  • Peak
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Beam sprout’s
  • Lettuce

Effects of Nickel Deficiency and Overdose in Plants

The right amount of fertilizer is necessary for the plant’s growth. Both the deficiency or overdose of Nickel can severely affect the plants. The Impact of deficiency or overdose in plants is as follows: 

Impact of Nickel Deficiency on Plants

  • The deficiency of Nickel in plants introduces leaf necrosis.
  • It delays the process of nodulation in the plants. 
  • Its deficiency introduces chlorosis in the young leaves of the plants. This chlorosis introduces the problems within the leaves and stops the growth.
  • It reduces the overall leaf size as well. That means it stunts the growth of plant parts, disturbing the crops’ production rate. 
  • Moreover, the continuous deficiency introduces the yellowing of leaves. 
  • The nutrient mobility within the plants is also affected by the nickel deficiency. That means its absence also disturbs the distribution of other essential nutrients within the plants. 
  • It promotes the abnormal coloration within the leaves, which may be red, brown, purple, or bronze.
  • It also affects and disturbs the Overall plant yield. 
  • The size and color of the fruit’s area are also affected due to the Nickel deficiency. 

Impact of Nickel Overdose on Plants

  • High amounts of Nickel within the soil cause imbalances in the soil’s other nutrients. 
  • It reduces and disturbs the Overall working of the enzymes and their activities in the plants. 
  • The high presence of Nickel also affects the plant parts’ physiological functions. 
  • Excessive amounts of Nickel can be lethal for plant life as it also affects the process of photosynthesis and respiration in plants.
  • It introduces pollution to the plants. Its excessive amounts promote water and soil pollution.
  • The overdose can kill the plants as well. 

Benefits of Nickel Fertilizers on Plant Growth and Productivity

Benefits of Nickel Fertilizers on Plant Growth and Productivity

  • The most important benefit of Nickel in plants is nitrogen fixation. 
  • It’s directly linked and activates enzymatic reactions in the plants. 
  • It improves photosynthesis and promotes the greenery of leaves.
  • Nickel concentration within the plants is helpful for mineral uptake. 
  • The seedlings become disrupted, and they will not grow the plants. 
  • They also removed the toxicity of the plants. They increase the self-defense features of the plant parts. 
  • It improves the physiological process of the plants. It removes the plant nutrient deficiency and stimulates high grain production.


Plants require Nickel in small amounts, but they perform various functions within the plant life cycle. They act as Nitrogen fixers for the plants. They promote the production and photosynthesis within the plants. They also promote the plant part’s growth, and their deficiency affects the foliar growth. Besides this, the high nickel concentrations in the soil can contaminate the soil/water and stunt plant growth. Therefore, you need to use the right quantities of Nickel in the soil after the soil test so that the plants benefit from its presence.

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