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Major Elements

Hydrogen  (H), 1.01 Atomic Weight

(Major Element)

Hydrogen is a major element in plant growth, being the basis for all life on earth as part of the DNA molecule.  It is by far the most abundant element in the universe, making up 75% of the mass of all matter.  It is a major component of the sun and stars.  The planet Jupiter is also mostly Hydrogen, as are some recently discovered planets outside our solar system.  It is the lightest of all elements.

On Earth, Hydrogen ranks ninth in abundance amount the elements, representing 11% of the mass of sea water.  Very little Hydrogen is found in the atmosphere, less than one part per million by volume, as it continuously escapes into space.  Hydrogen combines directly with most of the lighter elements and with many of the heavier elements.   It is present in all living matter in the form of compounds in which it is combined with Carbon and other elements.

It would be possible to base the entire economy of the earth on solar and nuclear generated Hydrogen as a replacement to all other fuels.  Hydrogen is non-polluting, but its’ costs to produce are very high in relation to that of current hydrocarbon fuels.

Oxygen  (O), 15.99 Atomic Weight

(Major Element)

Oxygen is a major element in plant growth, being the basis for all life on earth as part of the DNA molecule.  It is the most plentiful element in the earth’s crust, representing 46 - 49%.  It is the second most prevalent element in the earth’s atmosphere at 21%, and in sea water, it makes up 89% by weight.  Approximately two thirds of the human body is Oxygen.

Oxygen is very reactive and capable of combining with most of the other elements.  It is a component of thousands of organic compounds, many of which are essential to plant growth.

In what is known as photosynthesis, plants utilize available CO2 in the presence of sunlight, from both the soil and the atmosphere, assimilating the Carbon element and releasing the free Oxygen back into the atmosphere.  Almost all free Oxygen in the earth's atmosphere is due to photosynthesis.  See “Soil Air” for more information.

Sodium  (Na),  22.99 Atomic Weight

(Major Element)

Sodium is essential to all animals, and has been recognized since prehistoric times.  It is the sixth most abundant element on earth, comprising 2.8% of the earth’s crust.  It also occurs in greater than trace amounts in the sun and stars.  It is the most common alkali metal.

Sodium does not occur free in nature, due to its’ great reactivity.  It easily unites with Oxygen and other elements, but is extremely active.  The most important and familiar Sodium compound is sodium chloride (NaCl), or common salt.  It occurs in sea water, natural brine solutions, and as rock salt.  Most Sodium compounds are prepared from sodium chloride.

Salt is of vital nutritional value to humans and animals, but in limited amounts.  Excess amounts can be damaging to all biological systems.  It is present in most soils and aids in the biological process carried out by soil micro-organisms.  As with animals, excess amounts in the soil will reap havoc on the biological system.


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