Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

Why Do Plants Need Hydrogen?

...
Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Just like humans, plants consist primarily of water and carbon compounds, also called organic compounds. Nearly all organic compounds also contain hydrogen atoms, which is why plants need the hydrogen they obtain from water molecules through photosynthesis.

Function

Photosynthesis is a complex process, but is easier to understand by representing it as a simple chemical equation, where six molecules of CO2 (carbon dioxide) and six molecules of H2O (water) are turned into one molecule of C6H12O6 (a simple sugar called glucose) and six molecules of oxygen. The molecule of glucose is composed of oxygen and carbon from the carbon dioxide molecules and hydrogen from the water molecules consumed during the process.

Effects

Plant cells use sugars for energy and also as an ingredient for the biosynthesis of other compounds they need, like amino acids and nucleotides for DNA. The hydrogen atoms from the glucose become incorporated into other organic compounds through these processes. All important biomolecules like DNA, RNA, lipids or fats, sugars and carbohydrates include hydrogen atoms.

Misconceptions

Plants obtain the hydrogen they need from water molecules. Don't try to feed your plant hydrogen gas -- your plant wouldn't know what to do with it if you did. As long as they have water, plants can readily obtain all the hydrogen they need.

Related Articles

Is a Venus Flytrap an Autotroph or Heterotroph?
Is a Venus Flytrap an Autotroph or Heterotroph?
The Effects of Vitamin C & Folic Acid on the Growth of Plants
The Effects of Vitamin C & Folic Acid on the Growth...
Facts About the Plant Kingdom
Facts About the Plant Kingdom
What Parts Do Non-Vascular Plants Have?
What Parts Do Non-Vascular Plants Have?
How Plants Grow with Different Kinds of Liquids
How Plants Grow with Different Kinds of Liquids
Where Can I Purchase Peters Plant Food?
Where Can I Purchase Peters Plant Food?
How Do Plants Gain Weight?
How Do Plants Gain Weight?
How Do Different Types of Liquid Affect Bean Plant Growth?
How Do Different Types of Liquid Affect Bean Plant...
What Weed Killer Kills Buckthorn?
What Weed Killer Kills Buckthorn?
What Are the Benefits of Rain Water When Growing Plants?
What Are the Benefits of Rain Water When Growing Plants?
Importance of Water to Plants
Importance of Water to Plants
Active Ingredients in Miracle Grow
Active Ingredients in Miracle Grow
Can Pickle Juice Promote Good Health in Plants?
Can Pickle Juice Promote Good Health in Plants?
What Part of a Plant Makes Its Food?
What Part of a Plant Makes Its Food?
Garden Guides
×