Oxygen (O)

Last updated: February 26, 2019

What Does Oxygen (O) Mean?

Oxygen (O), has an atomic number of 8 on the Periodic Table of Elements and is the third most abundant element in the universe, making up around 21 per cent of the earth's atmosphere.

As a colorless, odorless, gaseous element, oxygen, which is in the air we breathe, is a highly reactive element and can combine with most other elements. It is required by most living organisms.

In addition to the oxygen in the air, there is also molecular oxygen, which, for gardeners, is more commonly known as dissolved oxygen (DO). Dissolved oxygen is used by aquatic creatures and the aerobic organisms living around and within a plant’s rhizosphere.


Maximum Yield Explains Oxygen (O)

In horticulture, oxygen is a by-product of the photosynthesis process. Whereas humans breathe in oxygen and release carbon dioxide, plant’s “breathe” in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen as a waste product – much to the benefit of humans and animals.

In the photosynthesis process, within the chloroplasts of plant cells, carbon dioxide and water undergo a chemical process when combined with radiant energy, typically from the sun. This results in energy the plant needs to survive in the form of a glucose molecule, and oxygen, which the plant lets off as it grows.

Oxygen is, however, a crucial part of plant growth, particularly in the root zone. If the roots don’t receive enough oxygen, they suffocate, and this leads to the formation of plant pathogens (root rot). So, it’s important to aerate (provide oxygen to) your root zone adequately. This can be done by ensuring your plants are not sitting in stagnant water for too long. In hydroponics, air stones are used to keep root zones that are submerged in water oxygenated.


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