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Answer to Question #62485 in Biochemistry for Marisa McGonigal

Question #62485
Chemical fertilizers are composed of salts that that dissolve into soil moisture and then are absorbed by the root cells of the plants. Why should you never over fertilize a plant?
Expert's answer
When you over-fertilize a plant, you're putting a lot of excess solutes (soluble stuff) outside of the roots in the soil. Fertilizer may form a hypertonic solution in the soil that may draw out the water from the plant cells causing the plant to die.
In a hypertonic solution, the total molar concentration of all dissolved solute particles is greater than that of another solution, or greater than the concentration in a cell.
If concentrations of dissolved solutes are greater outside the cell, the concentration of water outside is correspondingly lower. As a result, water inside the cell will flow outwards to attain equilibrium, causing the cell to shrink. As cells lose water, they lose the ability to function.

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