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Composition of Minerals in Soil Related with Date Fruits

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Chemistry
Wordcount: 2768 words Published: 26th Jan 2018

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  1. Research Proposal Topic

Study the Composition of Minerals in Soil Related with Date Fruits using AAS.

  1. Introduction

Generally, plants require optimum mineral nutrients from the soil other than water, sunlight and carbon dioxide. Mineral is a crystalline solid of inorganic element. It has their own characteristic on physical properties such as crystalline structure, hardness, density, flammability, and color with certain chemical composition that form by natural processes. Mineral nutrients can be classified into two types of nutrients which are micronutrients and macronutrients.

Essential mineral composition with sufficient quantity is important in a plant as it affect the plant productivity or fruit quality. Plants also not grow well if one or more elements are present in too large quantity which can be toxicity to the plant. This shows that the levels of elements must in balance with other nutrients. These nutrients perform a variety of functions in plants especially in the structural components of cell.

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Date palm or Phoenix dactylifera will involve in this research for the study of the minerals in soils and date fruits. Date palms need the specific composition of minerals in soils in order to produce fruits. Soil of plant analysis is useful for estimating trace element availability and determining the specific type of mineral presence in the soil which can prevent the deficiencies of fruit production. Determination of the minerals in fruit is important in order to study the correlation between the minerals in soils from date palm with date fruits using atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS).

  1. Literature Review
  1. Minerals

A mineral is a natural inorganic solid with a definite chemical composition such as K, Ca, Mg and Na. It is inorganic crystalline solid that has the crystal structure of long ranged order of atomic arrangement. Minerals are divided into groups based on their chemical composition with different chemical features of each groups.

  1. Characteristics and Properties

Minerals can be known by their characteristics such as crystalline structure, inorganic elements, form by natural process, has particular chemical composition and specific physical properties. Minerals are crystalline solids that the atoms are arranged in repeating pattern. Mineral also comes from the organic substances which involved proteins, carbohydrates, and oils.Besides, minerals also commonly come from the inorganic compound (Geoscience News and Information, 11 November 2014).

Minerals form by natural processes occurs in or on Earth. A diamond is a example of mineral that created in Earth’s crust. About 98.5% of Earth’s crust is made up of only eight elements which are oxygen, silicon, aluminum, iron, calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium. These are the elements that can form different types of chemical compounds of minerals and each mineral has a specific chemical composition and chemical formula. For example, quartz is the combination of two oxygen atoms bonded to a silicon atom, SiO2 (Geoscience News and Information, 11 November 2014).

Minerals also presence in hard type of mineral like a diamond as it is from by strong covalent bond of carbon. Then, softer mineral also exist which contains calcium and oxygen along with carbon which is calcite. The structure of calcite shows the relationship of calcium (Ca), carbon (C) and oxygen (O).In other aspect, the physical properties of minerals include the differentiation in the mineral’s color, the color of the powder of mineral (streak), the light reflection of mineral’s surface (luster), the specific gravity, tendency to break the flat surfaces (cleavage), the mineral breaks pattern (fracture) and the hardness (Geoscience News and Information, 11 November 2014).

2.1.2Mineral Groups

Minerals can be classified into groups depend on their chemical composition. Silicates are the largest mineral group exists on Earth. Silicate minerals are the first group which has silica tetrahedron compound as the basic structure. Silica tetrahedron is the combination of one silicon atom bonds to four oxygen atoms. The common examples of silicate minerals are feldspar and quartz. Both of them are rock-forming minerals. The variety of silicate minerals can be form pyramid-shaped structure is bound to other elements, such as calcium, iron, and magnesium. Silica tetrahedrons also can combine together in six different ways to produce different types of silicates (Scientific Classifications of Mineral Groups, 11 November 2014).

Native elements contain atoms of one type of element. Only a few types of minerals are found in this group. The minerals in native elements group are rarely to have and very valuable. Gold, silver, sulfur, and diamond are examples of minerals in native elements group. Next is carbonates mineral group. The carbonate structure form from one carbon atom bonded to three oxygen atoms. Carbonates also include other additional elements such as calcium, iron, and copper. For example, calcite (CaCO3) which is the most common carbonate mineral (Scientific Classifications of Mineral Groups, 11 November 2014).

Halide minerals are salts that form when salt water evaporates which is involving a halogen bonded with a metallic atom. Halite is an example of halide mineral. The chemical elements in halogen group are fluorine, chlorine, bromine and iodine. While fluorite is a halide containing calcium and fluorine. Next, oxides contain one or two metal elements combined with oxygen. Most metals are found as oxides. For example, hematite (Fe2O3) which is form by two iron atoms combined with three oxygen atoms and magnetite (Fe3O4) is produced when three iron atoms combined with four oxygen atoms. Magnetite is one of the magnetic mineral and attraction of magnets can be made by this magnetite minerals. Both are the examples of iron oxides. (Scientific Classifications of Mineral Groups, 11 November 2014).

Phosphate minerals are same in pattern of structure of atom in the silicate minerals. Phosphorus, arsenic or vanadium bond to oxygen to form tetrahedral in this type of phosphate minerals. There are many different minerals exist in the phosphate group but they very rarely to meet. Turquoise is an example of a phosphate mineral which consist of copper, aluminum, and phosphorus. Next, sulfate minerals contain sulfur atoms bonded to oxygen atoms. The sulfate group also may consist of many different minerals but it is not commonly known. Then, sulfides are formed when metallic elements combine with sulfur. Sulfides are slightly different from sulfate as it do not contain oxygen. Pyrite, or iron sulfide is a common example of sulfide mineral (Scientific Classifications of Mineral Groups, 11 November 2014).

  1. Minerals in the Soils of Date Palm

Phoenix dactylifera has the long productivity period and did multiple purpose qualities. It is one of the old types of fruit tree and the first country of the top ten producers is Egypt. Date fruits production are commonly depend on pollination, fertilization, and water relations (Iqbal et al., 2004). Most of the date palms produced in Egypt are grown in sandy, loam and sandy loam soils. The presence of certain types of element such as N, P, K, Mg and B may cause the soils become deficient. It has also been recorded that large amounts of macro and microelements are produce high amount of date fruita for every single year. It shows that the best source of organic matter comes from the macro and micro-minerals especially in producing fruit.

Application of organic fertilizers was found to enhance as well as to increase the structural stability and lowered bulk density of the soil. It improved moisture retention, water infiltration rate and the hydraulic conductivity of soil. In Egypt, the total amount of garbage collected from cities and villages reaches nearly 15 million tons per year and the proportion of domestic refuse is estimated to be about 68% (Hassanein & Kandil, 2007). This could be a source of organic fertilization, after suitable composting in fruit orchards. Furthermore, few studies have evaluated the effects of organic and mineral fertilizers on the quality characteristics of date fruits and the amount of prduction(Shahein et al., 2003&Al-Kharusi et al., 2009).

  1. Minerals in the Date Fruits

Phosphorus was determined in date fruits by ascorbic acid method. While flame photometer used in determining potassium content in date fruits. Element such as Pb, Cd, Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn, Mn and Cu contents were measured using an atomic absorption spectrophotometer (Model 305B). The concentrations of N, P, K, Ca and Mg were expressed as percentages, while Pb, Cd, Fe, Mn, Zn, and Cu were expressed as parts per million (ppm) on dry weight basis in the previous researches. Fruit nitrate (NO3) and nitrite (NO2) contents were also been measured in that particular conducted research(Marzouk & Kassem, 2010).

  1. Phoenix dactylifera

Phoenix dactylifera is one of the oldest cultivated fruit crops. The date palm has long been harvested for its fleshy fruit which is a common food for many people at the residential of country such as North Africa and Arabia. There are a lof of different types of this species which each of them are grown for commercial purposes and perhaps making the date palm the second most familiar palm species after the coconut palm (Cocosnucifera). It grows with an imposing tall, slender, straight trunk with spiralling pattern on the bark, and long feather-like leaves. The common names of date palm are Palma dactylifera, Palma major, Phoenix atlantica var. maroccana, Phoenix chevalieri, Phoenix excelsior, Phoenix iberica and Phoenix major (Marzouk & Kassem, 2010).

  1. Physiological Disorder of Date Palm

Blacknose is the abnormally shriveled and darkened tip of date. The conditions that must be avoid too high humidity, excessive soil moisture especially at the stage of fruit development. Next is crosscut. It is a physiological disorder of fruit stalks. Crosscut or V-cuts are clean break in tissues of the fruit stalk bases and on fronds. Crop losses may be avoided by using non-susceptible varieties, or by reducing the number of fruit stalks in susceptible varieties. After that is whitenose. It is commonly occur in dry and prolonged wind. It causes rapid maturation of the fruit. The affected fruit becomes very dry, hard and has greater sugar content. Hydration may correct this condition in harvested fruits. Next, barhee disorder is unusual bending. The cause and the way to control of this disorder are unknown(Agriculture and Consumer Protection, 11 November 2014).

Black scald is different from blacknose where it is a minor disorder. It consists of a blackened and sunken area with a definite line of demarcation. The disease usually appears on the tip or the sides of the fruit, and affected tissues have a bitter taste. The appearance of the disorder suggests exposure to high temperature, but the exact cause is not definitely known (Nixon, 1951). Then, bastard offshoot which is a deformed growth of date palm vegetative buds especially of offshoots fronds. It may be occur due to reduction in growth caused by an inequilibrium of growth regulators. After that is leaf apical drying that absolutely not a disease but a physiological reaction to transplantation of adult palms (injury of their root system). All palms with these symptoms recover within two to three years after their transplanting (Agriculture and Consumer Protection, 11 November 2014).

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Physiological disorders of date palm also include the fertilization injury. This type of injury is involving only with young tissue culture-derived palm plants (first two years after field planting) and when fertilizers (N, P, K) are applied too close to the palm’s stipe. The nature of fertilizers is not the cause, but rather how close to the stipe the fertilizer was applied. If the damage is severe, it could cause the death of the young palm (Agriculture and Consumer Protection, 11 November 2014).

Lack or excess of water can cause the date palm having a physiological disorder. The growth of the date palm is highly affected by variations in water availability and the water content of the soil. A decrease in yield or complete failure in fruit production could result from these water variations. Although date palms are resistant to flooding, healthy growth of palms requires a well-drained soil, and it is clear that irrigation must always go hand in hand with drainage. Serious losses, sometimes irreversible may occur in neglected date plantations. In such cases signs of decline appear on palms favored by root penetration of numerous saprophytes and parasites that could lead to the death of palms (Agriculture and Consumer Protection, 11 November 2014).


Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy in analytical chemistry is a technique for determining the concentration of a particular metal element within a sample. This spectroscopic instrument involving atomic emission which is the flame test. When a small amount of a solution of a metal ion is placed in the flame of a Bunsen burner, the flame turns a color that is characteristic of the metal ion. A sodium solution gives a yellow color, a potassium solution results in a violet color and a copper solution gives a green color.

Hollow Cathode Lamp is one of the instrument components in AAS. It is the light source and the exactly light required for analysis although no monochromator is used. The reason for this is that atoms of the metal to be tested are present within the lamp, and when the lamp is on, these atoms are supplied with energy, which causes them to elevate to the excited states. Upon returning to the ground state, exactly the same wavelengths that are useful in the analysis are emitted, since it is the analyzed metal with exactly the same energy levels that undergoes excitation. The AAS instrument is as follows.


Figure 1: Schematic diagram of AAS instrumentation.

4.0Problem Statement

Mineral composition in soil important for plants which affect the production of fruits. Thus, it is needed to determine the types of mineral that suitable for fruits, for example the date fruits. There are cases where the date palm from the same area can produce fruit while some of the plants have no fruit. It could be happened because the soils are from different sources during plantation process and it also has different composition of minerals. Since the date fruits production might be related to the composition of minerals in soil, the determination of minerals in soils and date fruits have to be conducted in order to study the correlation between them.

  1. Objective

The objectives in conducting this research are:

  1. To determine the minerals contain in the soil from date palm.
  2. To determine the minerals contain in date fruits.
  3. To find the correlation between the minerals in the soil and the minerals in date fruits.


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