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Related to essential element: trace element
essential element or
mineral element an element without which normal growth and reproduction cannot take place. In plants, there are seven major essential elements: nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur, potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron. There are also TRACE ELEMENTS required in much smaller quantities, for example, manganese, boron, chlorine. Animals also have requirements for elements, the list being quite similar to that for plants.