Difference Between Microelements and Macroelements

Main Difference

The main difference between Microelements and Macroelements is that Microelements are required in very small amount, whereas Macroelements are required in a large amount.

Microelements vs. Macroelements

Most of the organisms require certain mineral ions in order to survive. These mineral ions are classified into two types on the basis of their required amount, i.e., microelements and macroelements. Microelements are the elements that are required in a very low amount by the body. On the other hand, macroelements are the elements that are required in large quantity by the body of the organism. As animals can easily consume these minerals through food, so these elements usually referred to in conjunction with plants and gardening. With plants, these elements need to be dissolved in the soil in order to be consumed. The concentration of a microelement is less than or equal to 0.1 mg/gm of dry matter whereas, the concentration of a macro-element is at least 1 mg or 1000 µg/gm of dry matter. Macroelements play an important role in building up the plant body and different protoplasmic components while microelements do not have such a role. Microelements do not have any significant role in building up osmotic potential. On the flip side, some macro-elements accumulate in cell sap and play an important role in developing osmotic potential. Microelements are toxic if they are in slight excess while macroelements do not cause toxicity in slight excess amount. Examples of microelements are B, Cu, Zn, Mn, Mo, Cl, and Ni, etc. whereas that of macroelements are H, N, C, S, P, K, Ca, Mg and Fe, etc.

Comparison Chart

MicroelementsMacroelements
The elements that are required by the body of the organism in a very small quantity are known as microelements.The elements that are required by the body of the organism in large quantity are known as macroelements.
Also Known as
Microelements are also known as minor elements or trace elements.Macroelements are also known as major elements.
Toxicity
Microelements are toxic if they are in slight excess.Macroelements do not cause toxicity in slight excess amount.
Osmotic Potential
Microelements do not have any significant role in building up osmotic potential.Some macro-elements accumulate in cell sap and play an important role in developing osmotic potential.
Turgor Movements
Microelements do not cause turgor movements.Turgor movements are mostly taking place due to the influx and efflux of potassium ion, which is a macroelement.
Role
Microelements do not play any role in building up the plant body but take part in metabolism.Macroelements play an important role in building up the plant body and different protoplasmic components.
Detection
Microelements are not easy to detect in the body of the organism due to their small quantity.Macroelements are present in easily detectable quantites.
Concentration
The concentration of a microelement is less than or equal to 0.1 mg/gm of dry matter.The concentration of a macro element is at least 1 mg or 1000 µg/gm of dry matter.
Examples
Examples of microelements are B, Cu, Zn, Mn, Mo, Cl, and Ni, etc.Examples of macroelements are H, N, C, S, P, K, Ca, Mg and Fe, etc.

What are Microelements?

“Micro” means “small.” So, microelements are the elements that are required by the body of the organism in a very small quantity. They are also known as minor elements or trace elements. These elements play an important role in metabolism and mostly act as enzyme cofactors that can easily be supplied since only trace amounts are needed. The concentration of a microelement is less than or equal to 0.1 mg/gm of dry matter. So, it is not easy to detect them due to their small quantity. Examples of microelements are B, Cu, Zn, Mn, Mo, Cl, and Ni, etc.

What are Macroelements?

“Macro” means “Large.” So, macroelements are the elements that are required by the body of the organism in large quantity. They are also known as major elements. They play a significant role in building up the plant body and different protoplasmic components. Some macro-elements accumulate in cell sap and play an important role in developing osmotic potential. Moreover, turgor movements are mostly taking place due to the influx and efflux of potassium ion, which is a macroelement. The concentration of a macro element is at least 1 mg or 1000 µg/gm of dry matter. So, it is easy to detect them. Examples of macroelements are H, N, C, S, P, K, Ca, Mg and Fe, etc.

Key Differences

  1. The elements that are required by the body of the organism in a very small quantity are known as microelements whereas the elements that are required by the body of the organism in large quantity are known as macroelements.
  2. Microelements are also known as minor elements or trace elements; on the other side, macroelements are also known as major elements.
  3. The concentration of a microelement is less than or equal to 0.1 mg/gm of dry matter, on the other hand, the concentration of a macro element is at least 1 mg or 1000 µg/gm of dry matter.
  4. Microelements are toxic if they are in slight excess. Conversely, macroelements do not cause toxicity in slight excess amount.
  5. Microelements do not have any significant role in building up osmotic potential on the flip side; some macro-elements accumulate in cell sap and play an important role in developing osmotic potential.
  6. Microelements do not cause turgor movements; on the other side, turgor movements are mostly taking place due to influx and efflux of potassium ion, which is a macroelement.
  7. Microelements do not play any role in building up the plant body but take part in metabolism while; macroelements play an important role in building up the plant body and different protoplasmic components.
  8. Microelements are not easy to detect in the body of the organism due to their small quantity, on the flip side, macroelements are present in easily detectable quantities.
  9. Examples of microelements are B, Cu, Zn, Mn, Mo, Cl, and Ni, etc. whereas, examples of macroelements are H, N, C, S, P, K, Ca, Mg and Fe, etc.

Conclusion

Above discussion summarizes that microelements are the trace elements that are required in a very small quantity and play an important role in metabolism. On the other hand, macroelements are the elements that are required in large quantity and play an important role in body construction. Both are important for the survival of the organism.

Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White

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