Although it is not an element with structural function in plants, potassium (K) is demanded in considerable quantities by plants due to multifunctional role in plant physiology and metabolism. Nevertheless, the interface of plant mineral nutrition and food safety evidences needs for a better understanding of functional mechanisms of this nutrient in plants, taking into account its management in hydroponic cultivation and food production with nutritional quality. Thus, the nutritional content of K in vegetables is indicative of post-harvest and nutritional quality. This fact is important considering that modern life has induced increased consumption of processed foods whose preparation implies reduction of K levels and increase of Na levels, with the consequent low K intake and appearance of diseases related to insufficient intake. Therefore, the present chapter aimed to address main nutritional, physiological, and biochemical aspects of K in a context of hydroponic plant production and importance of potassium nutrition to human health.
Part of the book: Potassium