Last updated: November 17, 2021

What Does Assimilation Mean?

In horticulture, assimilation refers to the method plants use to absorb organic materials, such as sugars and carbohydrates, as well as inorganic materials from the soil. Assimilation leads to the gradual buildup of cell matter. In living things, assimilation is occurring in every cell to help develop new cells.

Because plants are multicellular organisms, the process of assimilation becomes more complex and elaborate. The process of assimilation is crucial to plants because it encourages proper growth and development.


Maximum Yield Explains Assimilation

Photosynthesis results from assimilation, whereby water and carbon dioxide are absorbed by the plant and consequently converted into a plethora of organic molecules directly in the plant’s numerous cells.

Another example of assimilation in plants is how they use nitrogen in their environments. Plants need to assimilate nitrogen from the soil to survive. In some cases, such as with nitrogen fixation, the nitrogen from the soil is turned into organic molecules by symbiotic bacteria that live in the roots of certain plants. The nitrogen in fertilizers combines with soil to provide plants with the necessary nutrients.

Nitrogen in the air can also be assimilated by some plants for growth and development. Consequently, nitrogen is converted into ammonium, which is later turned into nitrates before being absorbed by the root system. After assimilation, these nitrates are used to build up chlorophyll, nucleic acids, and amino acids.


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