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21 novembre 2011 1 21 /11 /novembre /2011 03:11

Magnesium is a chemical element with the symbol Mg, atomic number 12, and common oxidation number +2. It is an alkaline earth metal and the eighth most abundant element in the Earth's crust, where it constitutes about 2% by mass, and ninth in the known universe as a whole.Sony VAIO VGN-SR140N/S Battery

This abundance of magnesium is related to the fact that it is easily built up in supernova stars from a sequential addition of three helium nuclei to carbon (which in turn is made from three helium nuclei). Due to magnesium ion's high solubility in water, it is the third most abundant element dissolved in seawater.Sony VAIO VGN-SR165E/B Battery

Magnesium is the 11th most abundant element by mass in the human body; its ions are essential to all living cells, where they play a major role in manipulating important biological polyphosphate compounds like ATP, DNA, and RNA. Hundreds of enzymesthus require magnesium ions to function. Sony VAIO VGN-SR165E/P Battery

Magnesium is also the metallic ion at the center of chlorophyll, and is thus a common additive to fertilizers. Magnesium compounds are used medicinally as common laxatives, antacids (e.g., milk of magnesia), and in a number of situations where stabilization of abnormal nerve excitation and blood vessel spasm is required (e.g., to treat eclampsia). Sony VAIO VGN-SR165E/S Battery

Magnesium ions are sour to the taste, and in low concentrations help to impart a natural tartness to fresh mineral waters.

The free element (metal) is not found naturally on Earth, as it is highly reactive (though once produced, it is coated in a thin layer of oxide [see passivation], which partly masks this reactivity). Sony VAIO VGN-SR190EBJ Battery

The free metal burns with a characteristic brilliant white light, making it a useful ingredient in flares. The metal is now mainly obtained by electrolysis of magnesium salts obtained from brine. Commercially, the chief use for the metal is as an alloying agent to make aluminium-magnesium alloys, sometimes called "magnalium" or "magnelium". Sony VAIO VGN-SR190EBQ Battery

Since magnesium is less dense than aluminium, these alloys are prized for their relative lightness and strength.

Physical and chemical properties

Elemental magnesium is a fairly strong, silvery-white, light-weight metal (two thirds the density of aluminium). Sony VAIO VGN-SR190EEJ/C Battery

It tarnishesslightly when exposed to air, although unlike the alkali metals, storage in an oxygen-free environment is unnecessary because magnesium is protected by a thin layer of oxide that is fairly impermeable and difficult to remove. Like its lower periodic table group neighbor calcium, magnesium reacts with water at room temperature, though it reacts much more slowly than calcium.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NAB Battery

When submerged in water, hydrogen bubbles will almost unnoticeably begin to form on the surface of the metal, though if powdered it will react much more rapidly. The reaction will occur faster with higher temperatures (see precautions). Magnesium's ability to react with water can be harnessed to produce energy and run a magnesium-based engine.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NBB Battery

Magnesium also reacts exothermically with most acids, such as hydrochloric acid (HCl). As with aluminium, zinc and many other metals, the reaction with hydrochloric acid produces the chloride of the metal and releases hydrogen gas.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NDB Battery

Magnesium is a highly flammable metal, but while it is easy to ignite when powdered or shaved into thin strips, it is difficult to ignite in mass or bulk. Once ignited, it is difficult to extinguish, being able to burn in nitrogen (formingmagnesium nitride), carbon dioxide (forming magnesium oxide and carbon) and water (forming magnesium oxide and hydrogen). Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NEB Battery

This property was used in incendiary weapons used in the firebombing of cities in World War II, the only practical civil defense being to smother a burning flare under dry sand to exclude the atmosphere. On burning in air, magnesium produces a brilliant white light which includes strong ultraviolet. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NGB Battery

Thus magnesium powder (flash powder) was used as a source of illumination in the early days of photography. Later, magnesium ribbon was used in electrically ignited flash bulbs. Magnesium powder is used in the manufacture of fireworks and marine flares where a brilliant white light is required. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190PAB Battery

Flame temperatures of magnesium and magnesium alloys can reach 3,100 °C (3,370 K; 5,610 °F),[7] although flame height above the burning metal is usually less than 300 mm (12 in).[8] Magnesium may be used as an ignition source for thermite, an otherwise difficult to ignite mixture of aluminium and iron oxide powder.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190PCB Battery

Magnesium compounds are typically white crystals. Most are soluble in water, providing the sour-tasting magnesium ion Mg2+. Small amounts of dissolved magnesium ion contribute to the tartness and taste of natural waters. Magnesium ion in large amounts is an ionic laxative, and magnesium sulfate (common name: Epsom salt) is sometimes used for this purpose.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190PFB Battery

So-called "milk of magnesia" is a water suspension of one of the few insoluble magnesium compounds, magnesium hydroxide. The undissolved particles give rise to its appearance and name. Milk of magnesia is a mild base commonly used as an antacid, which has some laxative side effect.Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VN Battery


Magnesium has three stable isotopes: 24Mg, 25Mg and 26Mg. All are present in significant amounts (see table of isotopes above). About 79% of Mg is 24Mg. The isotope 28Mg is radioactive and in the 1950s to 1970s was made commercially by several nuclear power plants for use in scientific experiments. Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VN Battery

This isotope has a relatively short half-life (21 hours) and so its use was limited by shipping times.

26Mg has found application in isotopic geology, similar to that of aluminium. 26Mg is a radiogenic daughter product of 26Al, which has a half-life of 717,000 years. Large enrichments of stable 26Mg have been observed in the Ca-Al-rich inclusions of some carbonaceous chondrite meteorites. Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VRN Battery

The anomalous abundance of 26Mg is attributed to the decay of its parent 26Al in the inclusions. Therefore, the meteorite must have formed in the solar nebula before the 26Al had decayed. Hence, these fragments are among the oldest objects in the solar system and have preserved information about its early history.Sony VAIO VGN-SR19XN Battery

It is conventional to plot 26Mg/24Mg against an Al/Mg ratio. In an isochron dating plot, the Al/Mg ratio plotted is27Al/24Mg. The slope of the isochron has no age significance, but indicates the initial 26Al/27Al ratio in the sample at the time when the systems were separated from a common reservoir.Sony VAIO VGN-SR19XN Battery


Stable forms of magnesium are produced in stars. It is made from fusing helium and neon, in the so-called alpha process. Creation requires temperatures above 600 megakelvins and masses greater than 3 solar masses.Sony VAIO VGN-SR210J/S Battery


Although magnesium is found in over 60 minerals, only dolomite, magnesite, brucite,carnallite, talc, and olivine are of commercial importance.

The Mg2+ cation is the second most abundant cation in seawater (occurring at about 12% of the mass of sodium there), which makes seawater and sea-salt an attractive commercial source of Mg.Sony VAIO VGN-SR21M/S Battery

To extract the magnesium, calcium hydroxide is added to seawater to formmagnesium hydroxide precipitate.

MgCl2 + Ca(OH)2 ? Mg(OH)2 + CaCl2

Magnesium hydroxide (brucite) is insoluble in water so it can be filtered out, and reacted with hydrochloric acid to obtain concentrated magnesium chloride.Sony VAIO VGN-SR21RM/H Battery

Mg(OH)2 + 2 HCl ? MgCl2 + 2 H2O

From magnesium chloride, electrolysis produces magnesium.

In the United States, magnesium is principally obtained by electrolysis of fused magnesium chloride from brines, wells, andsea water. At the cathode, the Mg2+ ion is reduced by two electrons to magnesium metal:Sony VAIO VGN-SR21RM/S Battery

Mg2+ + 2 e?? Mg

At the anode, each pair of Cl? ions is oxidized to chlorine gas, releasing two electrons to complete the circuit:

2 Cl? ? Cl2 (g) + 2 e?
The United States has traditionally been the major world supplier of this metal, supplying 45% of world production even as recently as 1995. Sony VAIO VGN-SR220J/B Battery

Today, the US market share is at 7%, with a single domestic producer left, US Magnesium, a Renco Group company in Utah born from now-defunct Magcorp.[10]

As of 2005, China has taken over as the dominant supplier, pegged at 60% world market share, which increased from 4% in 1995.Sony VAIO VGN-SR220J/H Battery

Unlike the above-described electrolyticprocess, China is almost completely reliant on a different method of obtaining the metal from its ores, the silicothermic Pidgeon process (the reduction of the oxide at high temperatures with silicon).


The name magnesium originates from the Greek word for a district in Thessaly called Magnesia. Sony VAIO VGN-SR240J/B Battery

It is related to magnetiteand manganese, which also originated from this area, and required differentiation as separate substances. See manganese for this history.[citation needed]

Magnesium is the seventh most abundant element in the Earth's crust by mass or molarity.[Sony VAIO VGN-SR240N/B Battery

It is found in large deposits of magnesite, dolomite, and other minerals, and in mineral waters, where magnesium ion is soluble. In 1618, a farmer at Epsom in England attempted to give his cows water from a well there. The cows refused to drink because of the water's bitter taste, but the farmer noticed that the water seemed to heal scratches and rashes. Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JTH Battery

The substance became known as Epsom salts and its fame spread; it was eventually recognized to be hydrated magnesium sulfate, MgSO4.

The metal itself was first produced by Sir Humphry Davy in England in 1808 using electrolysis of a mixture of magnesia and mercury oxide.Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JTJ Battery

Antoine Bussy prepared it in coherent form in 1831. Davy's first suggestion for a name was magnium, but the name magnesium is now used.

As Metal

Magnesium is the third most commonly used structural metal, following iron and aluminium. It has been called the lightest useful metal by The Periodic Table of Videos.Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JTQ Battery

The main applications of magnesium are, in order: component of aluminium alloys, in die-casting (alloyed with zinc), to removesulfur in the production of iron and steel, the production of titanium in the Kroll process.

Magnesium, in its purest form, can be compared with aluminium, and is strong and light, so it is used in several high volume part manufacturing applications, including automotive and truck components.Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JVB/C Battery

Specialty, high-grade car wheels of magnesium alloy are called "mag wheels", although the term is often more broadly misapplied to include aluminum wheels. In 1957, a Corvette SS, designed for racing, was constructed with magnesium body panels. Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JVH/C Battery

An earlier Mercedes-Benz race car model, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, had a body made from Elektron, a magnesium alloy; these cars ran (with successes) at Le Mans, the Mille Miglia, and other world-class race events in 1955 (though one was involved in the single worst accident in auto racing history, in terms of human casualties, at the Le Mans race.) Sony VAIO VGN-SR290NTB Battery

Porsche's all-out quest to decrease the weight of their race cars led to the use of magnesium frames in the famous 917/053 that won Le Mans in 1971, and still holds the absolute distance record. The 917/30 Can-Am car also featured a magnesium frame, helping it to make the most of its prodigious 1100–1500 hp. Volkswagen Group has used magnesium in its engine components for many years.Sony VAIO VGN-SR29VN/S Battery

For a long time, Porsche used magnesium alloy for its engine blocks due to the weight advantage. There is renewed interest in magnesium engine blocks, as featured in the 2006 BMW 325i and 330i models. The BMW engine uses an aluminium alloy insert for the cylinder walls and cooling jackets surrounded by a high-temperature magnesium alloy AJ62A. Sony VAIO VGN-SR29XN/S Battery

The application of magnesium AE44 alloy in the 2006 Corvette Z06 engine cradle has advanced the technology of designing robust automotive parts in magnesium. Both these alloys are recent developments in high-temperature low creep magnesium alloys. Mitsubishi Motors also uses magnesium (branded magnesium alloy) for its paddle shifters. Sony VAIO VGN-SR2RVN/S Battery

The general strategy for such alloys is to form intermetallic precipitates at the grain boundaries, for example by adding mischmetal or calcium. New alloy development and lower costs, which are becoming competitive to aluminium, will further the number of automotive applications.Sony VAIO VGN-SR390NAB Battery

The second application field of magnesium is electronic devices. Because of low weight, good mechanical and electrical properties, magnesium is widely used for manufacturing of mobile phones, laptop computers, cameras, and other electronic components.Sony VAIO VGN-SR390NAH Battery

Historically, magnesium was one of the main aerospace construction metals and was used for German military aircraft as early as World War I and extensively for German aircraft in World War II. The Germans coined the name 'Elektron' for magnesium alloy. The term is still used today. Sony VAIO VGN-SR41M/P Battery

Because of perceived hazards with magnesium parts in the event of fire, the application of magnesium in the commercial aerospace industry was generally restricted to engine related components. Currently the use of magnesium alloys in aerospace is increasing, mostly driven by the increasing importance of fuel economy and the need to reduce weight.Sony VAIO VGN-SR41M/S Battery

The development and testing of new magnesium alloys continues, notably Elektron 21, which has successfully undergone extensive aerospace testing for suitability in engine, internal and airframe components. The European Community runs three R&D magnesium projects in the Aerospace priority of Six Framework Program.Sony VAIO VGN-SR49VN/H Battery

Niche Uses of the Metal

Magnesium, being available and relatively nontoxic, has variety of uses:

  • Magnesium is flammable, burning at a temperature of approximately 3,100 °C (3,370 K; 5,610 °F), and the autoignition temperature of magnesium ribbon is approximately 630 °C (903 K; 1,166 °F) in air.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51B/P Battery
  • It produces intense, bright, white light when it burns. Magnesium's high burning temperature makes it a useful tool for starting emergency fires during outdoor recreation. Other uses include flash photography, flares, pyrotechnics and fireworks sparklers.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51B/S Battery
  • In the form of turnings or ribbons, to prepare Grignard reagents, which are useful in organic synthesis.
  • As an additive agent in conventional propellants and the production of nodular graphite in cast iron.
  • As a reducing agent for the production of uranium and other metals from their salts.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF Battery
  • As a sacrificial (galvanic) anode to protect underground tanks, pipelines, buried structures, and water heaters.
  • Alloyed with zinc to produce the zinc sheet used in photoengraving plates in the printing industry, dry-cell battery walls, androofing.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF/P Battery
  • As a metal, this element's principal use is as an alloying additive to aluminium with these aluminium-magnesium alloys being used mainly for beverage cans.

As Magnesium Compounds

The magnesium ion is necessary for all life (see magnesium in biology), so magnesium salts are frequently included in variousfoods, fertilizers (magnesium is a component of chlorophyll), and culture media.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF/S Battery

Magnesium compounds, primarily magnesium oxide (MgO), are used as refractory a material in furnace linings for producing iron,steel, nonferrous metals, glass and cement. Magnesium oxide and other magnesium compounds are also used in the agricultural, chemical, and construction industries.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF/W Battery

Magnesium reacted with an alkyl halide gives a Gringard reagent, which is a very useful tool for preparing alcohols.

Niche and Illustrative Uses of Magnesium Compounds

  • Magnesium sulfate, as the heptahydrate called Epsom salts, is used as bath salts, as a laxative, and as a highly soluble fertilizer.
  • Magnesium hydroxide, suspended in water, is used in milk of magnesia antacids and laxatives.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MR Battery
  • Magnesium chloride, oxide, gluconate, malate, orotate and citrate are all used as oral magnesium supplements. Oral magnesium supplements have been claimed to be therapeutic for some individuals who suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS).Sony VAIO VGN-SR59VG Battery
  • Magnesium borate, magnesium salicylate, and magnesium sulfate are all used as antiseptics.
  • Magnesium bromide is used as a mild sedative (this action is due to the bromide, not the magnesium).
  • Dead-burned magnesite (magnesium carbonate) is used for refractory purposes such as brick and liners in furnaces and converters.Sony VAIO VGN-SR59VG/H Battery
  • Magnesium carbonate powder is used by such athletes as gymnasts and weightlifters to improve their grip on a gymnastic apparatus, lifting bar, or other object.
  • Magnesium stearate is a slightly flammable white powder with lubricating properties. Sony VAIO VGN-SR70B/S Battery
  • In pharmaceutical technology, it is used in the manufacturing of numerous kinds of tablets to prevent the tablets from sticking to the equipment during the tablet compression process (i.e., when the tablet's substance is pressed into tablet form).
  • Magnesium sulfite is used in the manufacture of paper (sulfite process).Sony VAIO VGN-SR72B/P Battery
  • Magnesium phosphate is used to fireproof wood used in construction.
  • Magnesium hexafluorosilicate is used in mothproofing of textiles. Sony VAIO VGN-SR72B/S Battery

Biological role

Because of the important interaction between phosphate and magnesium ions, magnesium ions are essential to the basic nucleic acid chemistry of life, and thus are essential to all cells of all known living organisms.Sony VAIO VGN-SR73JB/S Battery

Over 300 enzymes require the presence of magnesium ions for their catalytic action, including all enzymes utilizing or synthesizing ATP, or those that use other nucleotides to synthesize DNA and RNA. ATP exists in cells normally as a chelate of ATP and a magnesium ion.Sony VAIO VGN-SR74FB/S Battery

Plants have an additional use for magnesium in that chlorophylls are magnesium-centered porphyrins. Magnesium deficiency in plants causes late-season yellowing between leaf veins, especially in older leaves, and can be corrected by applying Epsom salts (which is rapidly leached), or else crushed dolomitic limestone to the soil.Sony VAIO VGN-SR90FS Battery

Magnesium is a vital component of a healthy human diet. Human magnesium deficiency (including conditions that show few overt symptoms) is relatively rare although only 32% of the United States meet the RDA-DRI; low levels of magnesium in the body has been associated with the development of a number of human illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, and osteoporosis.Sony VAIO VGN-SR90NS Battery

Adult human bodies contain about 24 grams of magnesium, with 60% in the skeleton, 39% intracellular (20% in skeletal muscle), and 1% extracellular. Serum levels are typically 0.7–1.0 mmol/L or 1.8–2.4 mEq/L. Serum magnesium levels may appear normal even in cases of underlying intracellular deficiency, although no known mechanism maintains a homeostatic level in the blood other than renal excretion of high blood levels.Sony VAIO VGN-SR90S Battery

Intracellular magnesium is correlated with intracellular potassium. Magnesium is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, with more absorbed when status is lower. In humans, magnesium appears to facilitate calcium absorption . Low and high protein intake inhibit magnesium absorption, and other factors such as phosphate, phytate, and fat affect absorption.Sony VAIO VGN-SR90US Battery

Absorbed dietary magnesium is largely excreted through the urine, although most magnesium "administered orally" is excreted through the feces. Magnesium status may be assessed roughly through serum and erythrocyte Mg concentrations and urinary and fecal excretion, but intravenous magnesium loading tests are likely the most accurate and practical in most people.Sony VAIO VGN-SR91NS Battery

In these tests, magnesium is injected intravenously; a retention of 20% or more indicates deficiency.Other nutrient deficiencies are identified through biomarkers, but none are established for magnesium.

Spices, nuts, cereals, coffee, cocoa, tea, and vegetables are rich sources of magnesium. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach are also rich in magnesium as they contain chlorophyll. Sony VAIO VGN-SR91PS Battery

Observations of reduced dietary magnesium intake in modern Western countries compared to earlier generations may be related to food refining and modern fertilizers that contain no magnesium.

Numerous magnesium dietary supplements are available. Magnesium oxide, one of the most common because it has high magnesium content per weight, has been reported to be the least bioavailable.Sony VAIO VGN-SR91S Battery

Magnesium citrate has been reported as more bioavailable than oxide or amino-acid chelate (glycinate) forms.

Excess magnesium in the blood is freely filtered at the kidneys, and for this reason it is difficult to overdose on magnesium from dietary sources alone.Sony VAIO VGN-SR91US Battery

With supplements, overdose is possible, however, particularly in people with poor renal function; occasionally, with use of high cathartic doses of magnesium salts, severe hypermagnesemia has been reported to occur even without renal dysfunction. Sony VAIO VGN-SR92NS Battery

Alcoholism can produce a magnesium deficiency, which is easily reversed by oral or parenteral administration, depending on the degree of deficiency.

Detection in biological fluids

Magnesium concentrations in plasma or serum may be measured to monitor for efficacy and safety in those receiving the drug therapeutically,Sony VAIO VGN-SR92PS Battery

to confirm the diagnosis in potential poisoning victims or to assist in the forensic investigation in a case of fatal overdosage. The newborn children of mothers who received parenteral magnesium sulfate during labor may exhibit toxicity at serum magnesium levels that were considered appropriate for the mothers.Sony VAIO VGN-SR92S Battery

Magnesium in Treatment-resistant Depression

There has been some speculation that magnesium deficiency can lead to depression. Cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) magnesium has been found low in treatment-resistant suicidal depression and in patients that have attempted suicide. Sony VAIO VGN-SR92US Battery

Brain magnesium has been found low in TRD using phosphorus nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, an accurate means for measuring brain magnesium. Blood and CSF magnesium do not appear well-correlated with major depression.Magnesium chloride in relatively small doses was found to be as effective in the treatment of depressed elderly type 2 diabetics with hypomagnesemia as imipramine 50 mg daily. Sony VAIO VGN-SR93DS Battery

Safety precautions

Magnesium metal and its alloys are explosive hazards; they are highly flammable in their pure form when molten or in powder or ribbon form. Burning or molten magnesium metal reacts violently with water. Sony VAIO VGN-SR93JS Batery

When working with powdered magnesium, safety glasses with welding eye protection are employed, because the bright white light produced by burning magnesium contains ultraviolet light that can permanently damage the retinas of the eyes.

Magnesium is capable of reducing water to the highly flammable hydrogen gas:Sony VAIO VGN-SR93PS Batttery

Mg (s) + 2 H2O (l) ? Mg(OH)2 (s) + H2 (g)

As a result, water cannot be used to extinguish magnesium fires; the hydrogen gas produced will only intensify the fire. Dry sand is an effective smothering agent but is usable only on relatively level and flat surfaces.

Magnesium also reacts with carbon dioxide to form magnesium oxide and carbon:Sony VAIO VGN-SR93YS Battery

2 Mg (s) + CO2 ? 2 MgO (s) + C (s)

Hence, carbon dioxide fire extinguishers cannot be used for extinguishing magnesium fires either.

Burning magnesium is usually quenched by using a Class D dry chemical fire extinguisher, or by covering the fire with sand or magnesium foundry flux to remove its air source.Sony VAIO VGN-SR94FS Battery

Magnesium is an essential element in biological systems. Magnesium occurs typically as the Mg2+ ion. It is an essential mineral nutrient for life and is present in every cell type in every organism. For example, ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the main source of energy in cells, must be bound to a magnesium ion in order to be biologically active. Sony VAIO VGN-SR94GS Battery

What is called ATP is often actually Mg-ATP. Similarly, magnesium plays a role in the stability of all polyphosphate compounds in the cells, including those associated with DNA and RNA synthesis.

Over 300 enzymes require the presence of magnesium ions for their catalytic action, including all enzymes utilizing or synthesizing ATP,Sony VAIO VGN-SR94HS Battery

or those that use other nucleotides to synthesize DNA and RNA. In plants, magnesium is necessary for synthesis of chlorophyll and photosynthesis.


A balance of magnesium is vital to the well being of all organisms. Magnesium is a relatively abundant ion in the lithosphere and is highly bioavailable in thehydrosphere. Sony VAIO VGN-SR94VS Battery

This availability, in combination with a useful and very unusual chemistry, may have led to its usefulness in evolution as an ion for signaling, enzyme activation and catalysis. However, the unusual nature of ionic magnesium has also led to a major challenge in the use of the ion in biological systems. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ35B/B Battery

Biological membranes are impermeable to magnesium (and other ions) so transport proteins must facilitate the flow of magnesium , both into and out of cells and intracellular compartments.

Biological range, distribution, and regulation

In animals it has been shown that different cell types maintain different concentrations of magnesium.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ54B/B Battery

It seems likely that the same is true forplants. This suggests that different cell types may regulate influx and efflux of magnesium in different ways based on their unique metabolic needs. Interstitial and systemic concentrations of free magnesium must be delicately maintained by the combined processes of buffering (binding of ions to proteins and other molecules) and muffling (the transport of ions to storage or extracellular spaces ).Sony VAIO VGN-SZ55B/B Battery

In plants, and more recently in animals, magnesium has been recognized as an important signaling ion, both activating and mediating many biochemical reactions. The best example of this is perhaps the regulation of carbon fixation in chloroplasts in the Calvin cycle.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ55GN/B Battery

The importance of magnesium to proper cellular function cannot be overstated. Deficiency of the nutrient results in disease in the affected organism. In single-celled organisms such as bacteria and yeast, low levels of magnesium manifests in greatly reduced growth rates.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ56 Battery

In magnesium transport knockout strains of bacteria, healthy rates are maintained only with exposure to very high external concentrations of the ion. In yeast, mitochondrial magnesium deficiency also leads to disease.

Plants deficient in magnesium show stress responses. The first observable signs of both magnesium starvation and overexposure in plants is a decrease in the rate ofphotosynthesis. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ561N Battery

This is due to the central position of the Mg++ ion in the chlorophyll molecule. The later effects of magnesium deficiency on plants are a significant reduction in growth and reproductive viability.[3] Magnesium can also be toxic to plants, although this is typically seen only in droughtconditions.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ562N Battery

In animals, magnesium deficiency (hypomagnesemia) is seen when the environmental availability of magnesium is low. In ruminant animals, particularly vulnerable to magnesium availability in pasture grasses, the condition is known as ‘grass tetany’. Hypomagnesemia is identified by a loss of balance due to muscle weakness.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ57N Battery

A number of genetically attributable hypomagnesemia disorders have also been identified in humans.

Overexposure to magnesium may be toxic to individual cells, though these effects have been difficult to show experimentally. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ58GN Battery

In humans the condition is termed hypermagnesemia, and is well documented, though it is usually caused by loss of kidney function. In healthy individuals, excess magnesium is rapidly excreted in the urine (Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, Online Edition).Sony VAIO VGN-SZ58GN/C Battery

Human health

Magnesium deficiency in humans was first described in the medical literature in 1934. The adult human daily nutritional requirement, which is affected by various factors including gender, weight and size, is 300-400 mg/day. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ58N Battery

Inadequate magnesium intake frequently causes muscle spasms, and has been associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety disorders, migraines, osteoporosis and cerebral infarction. Acute deficiency (see hypomagnesemia) is rare, and is more common as a drug side effect (such as chronic alcohol or diuretic use)Sony VAIO VGN-SZ61MN/B Battery

than from low food intake per se, but it can also occur within people fed intravenously for extended periods of time. The incidence of chronic deficiency resulting in less than optimal health is debated.

The DRI upper tolerated limit for supplemental magnesium is 350 mg/day (calculated as milligrams (mg) of elemental magnesium in the salt).Sony VAIO VGN-SZ61VN/X Battery

(Supplements based on amino acid chelates, such as glycinate, lysinate etc., are much better tolerated by the digestive system and do not have the side effects of the older compounds used, while sustained release supplements prevent the occurrence of diarrhea.)Sony VAIO VGN-SZ61WN/C Battery

The most common symptom of excess oral magnesium intake is diarrhea. Since the kidneys of adult humans excrete excess magnesium efficiently, oral magnesium poisoning in adults with normal renal function is very rare. Infants, which have less ability to excrete excess magnesium even when healthy, should not be given magnesium supplements, except under a physician's care.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ640N/B Battery

Magnesium salts (usually in the form of magnesium sulfate or chloride when given parenterally) are used therapeutically for a number of medical conditions, see Epsom salts for a list of conditions which have been treated with supplemental magnesium ion.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ645P3 Battery

Magnesium is absorbed with reasonable efficiency (30% to 40%) by the body from any soluble magnesium salt, such as the chloride or citrate. Magnesium is similarly absorbed from Epsom salts, although the sulfate in these salts adds to their laxative effect at higher doses. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ650N/C Battery

Magnesium absorption from the insoluble oxide and hydroxide salts (milk of magnesia) is erratic and of poorer efficiency, since it depends on the neutralization and solution of the salt by the acid of the stomach, which may not be (and usually is not) complete.

Magnesium orotate may be used as adjuvant therapy in patients on optimal treatment for severe congestive heart failure, increasing survival rate and improving clinical symptoms and patient's quality of life.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ660N/C Battery

Nerve Conduction

Magnesium can affect muscle relaxation through direct action on the cell membrane. Mg++ ions close certain types of calcium channels, which conduct a positively charged calcium ion into the neuron. With an excess of magnesium, more channels will be blocked and the nerve will have less activity.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ670N/C Battery


Magnesium-containing Epsom salts are especially used in treating the hypertension of eclampsia. Even if the case is not eclampsia, there may be antihypertensiveeffects of having a substantial portion of the intake of sodium chloride (NaCl) exchanged for e.g. magnesium chloride; Sony VAIO VGN-SZ680ND Battery

NaCl is an osmolite and increases arginine vasopressin (AVP) release, which increases extracellular volume and thus results in increased blood pressure. However, not all osmolites have this effect on AVP release, so with magnesium chloride, the increase in osmolarity may not cause such a hypertensive response.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ691N/X Battery

Food sources

Green vegetables such as spinach provide magnesium because of the abundance of chlorophyll molecules which contain the ion. Nuts(especially cashews and almonds), seeds, dark chocolate, roasted soybeans, bran, and some whole grains are also good sources of magnesium.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ71E/B Battery

Although many foods contain magnesium, it is usually found in low levels. As with most nutrients, daily needs for magnesium are unlikely to be met by one serving of any single food. Eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains will help ensure adequate intake of magnesium.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ71VN/X Battery

Because magnesium readily dissolves in water, refined foods, which are often processed or cooked in water and dried, are generally poor sources of the nutrient. For example, whole wheat bread has twice as much magnesium as white bread because the magnesium-rich germ and bran are removed when white flour is processed.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ71WN/C Battery

The table of food sources of magnesium suggests many dietary sources of magnesium.

"Hard" water can also provide magnesium, but "soft" water does not contain the ion. Dietary surveys do not assess magnesium intake from water, which may lead to underestimating total magnesium intake and its variability.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ74B/B Battery

Too much magnesium may make it difficult for the body to absorb calcium . Not enough magnesium can lead to hypomagnesemiaas described above, with irregular heartbeats, high blood pressure (a sign in humans but not some experimental animals such as rodents), insomnia and muscle spasms (fasciculation). Sony VAIO VGN-SZ750N/C Battery

However, as noted, symptoms of low magnesium from pure dietary deficiency are thought to be rarely encountered.

Biological chemistry

Mg2+ is the fourth most abundant metal ion in cells (in moles) and the most abundant free divalent cation — as a result it is deeply and intrinsically woven into cellular metabolism.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ75B/B Battery

Indeed, Mg2+-dependent enzymes appear in virtually every metabolic pathway: specific binding of Mg2+ to biological membranes is frequently observed, Mg2+ is also used as a

signalling molecule, and much of nucleic acid biochemistry requires Mg2+, including all reactions which require release of energy from ATP.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ76 Battery

In nucleotides, the triple phosphate moiety of the compound is invariably stabilized by association with Mg2+ in all enzymic processes.


In photosynthetic organisms Mg2+ has the additional vital role of being the coordinating ion in the chlorophyll molecule.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ770N/C Battery

This role was discovered by R. M. Willstätter, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1915 for the purification and structure of chlorophyll.


The chemistry of the Mg2+ ion, as applied to enzymes, uses the full range of this ion’s unusual reaction chemistry to fulfill a range of functions.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ77N Battery

Mg2+ interacts with substrates, enzymes and occasionally both (Mg2+ may form part of the active site). Mg2+ generally interacts with substrates through inner sphere coordination, stabilising anions or reactive intermediates, also including binding to ATP and activating the molecule to nucleophilic attack. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ780 Battery

When interacting with enzymes and other proteins Mg2+ may bind using inner or outer sphere coordination, to either alter the conformation of the enzyme or take part in the chemistry of the catalytic reaction. In either case, because Mg2+ is only rarely fully dehydrated during ligand binding, Sony VAIO VGN-SZ78N Battery

it may be a water molecule associated with the Mg2+ that is important rather than the ion itself. The Lewis acidity of Mg2+ (pKa 11.4) is used to allow both hydrolysis and condensation reactions (most commonly phosphate ester hydrolysis and phosphoryl transfer) that would otherwise require pH values greatly removed from physiological values.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ791N/X Battery

Essential role in the biological activity of ATP

ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the main source of energy in cells, must be bound to a magnesium ion in order to be biologically active. What is called ATP is often actually Mg-ATP.

Nucleic acids

Nucleic acids have an important range of interactions with Mg2+. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ84NS Battery

The binding of Mg2+ to DNA and RNA stabilises structure; this can be observed in the increased melting temperature (Tm) of double-stranded DNA in the presence of Mg2+. Additionally, ribosomes contain large amounts of Mg2+ and the stabilisation provided is essential to the complexation of this ribo-protein.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ84PS Battery

A large number of enzymes involved in the biochemistry of nucleic acids bind Mg2+ for activity, using the ion for both activation and catalysis. Finally, the autocatalysis of many ribozymes (enzymes containing only RNA) is Mg2+ dependent (e.g. the yeast mitochondrial group II self splicing introns ).Sony VAIO VGN-SZ84S Battery

Magnesium ions can be critical in maintaining the positional integrity of closely clustered phosphate groups. These clusters appear in numerous and distinct parts of the cell nucleus and cytoplasm. For instance hexahydrated Mg2+ ions bind in the deep major groove and at the outer mouth of A-form nucleic acid duplexes.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ84US Battery

Cell membranes and walls

Biological cell membranes and cell walls are polyanionic surfaces. This has important implications for the transport of ions, particularly because it has been shown that different membranes preferentially bind different ions.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ85NS Battery

Both Mg2+ and Ca2+ regularly stabilise membranes by the cross-linking of carboxylated and phosphorylated head groups of lipids. However, the envelope membrane of E. coli has also been shown to bind Na+, K+, Mn2+ and Fe3+. The transport of ions is dependent on both the concentration gradient of the ion and the electric potential (??) across the membrane, Sony VAIO VGN-SZ85S Battery

which will be affected by the charge on the membrane surface. For example, the specific binding of Mg2+ to the chloroplast envelope has been implicated in a loss of photosynthetic efficiency by the blockage of K+ uptake and the subsequent acidification of the chloroplast stroma.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ85US Battery


The Mg2+ ion tends to bind only weakly to proteins (Ka ? 105 ) and this can be exploited by the cell to switch enzymatic activity on and off by changes in the local concentration of Mg2+. Although the concentration of free cytoplasmic Mg2+ is on the order of 1 mmol/L,Sony VAIO VGN-SZ94NS Battery

the total Mg2+ content of animal cells is 30 mmol/L and in plants the content of leaf endodermal cells has been measured at values as high as 100 mmol/L (Stelzer et al., 1990), much of which is buffered in storage compartments. The cytoplasmic concentration of free Mg2+ is buffered by binding to chelators (e.g. ATP),Sony VAIO VGN-SZ94PS Battery

but also more importantly by storage of Mg2+ in intracellular compartments. The transport of Mg2+ between intracellular compartments may be a major part of regulating enzyme activity. The interaction of Mg2+ with proteins must also be considered for the transport of the ion across biological membranes.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ94S Battery


In biological systems, only manganese (Mn2+) is readily capable of replacing Mg2+, but only in a limited set of circumstances. Mn2+is very similar to Mg2+ in terms of its chemical properties, including inner and outer shell complexation. Mn2+ effectively binds ATP and allows hydrolysis of the energy molecule by most ATPases. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ94US Battery

Mn2+ can also replace Mg2+ as the activating ion for a number of Mg2+-dependent enzymes, although some enzyme activity is usually lost. Sometimes such enzyme metal preferences vary among closely related species: for example, the reverse transcriptase enzyme of lentiviruses like HIV, SIV and FIV is typically dependent on Mg2+, whereas the analogous enzyme for other retroviruses prefers Mn2+.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ95NS Battery

Importance in drug binding

An article  investigating the structural basis of interactions between clinically relevant antibiotics and the 50S ribosome appeared in Nature in October 2001. High resolution x-ray crystallography established that these antibiotics only associate with the 23S rRNA of a ribosomal subunit, and no interactions are formed with a subunit's protein portion.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ95S Battery

The article stresses that the results show "the importance of putative Mg2+ ions for the binding of some drugs".

By radioactive isotopes

The use of radioactive tracer elements in ion uptake assays allows the calculation of km, Ki and Vmax and determines the initial change in the ion content of the cells. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ95US Battery

28Mg decays by the emission of a high energy beta or gamma particle, which can be measured using a scintillation counter. However, the radioactive half-life of 28Mg, the most stable of the radioactive magnesium isotopes, is only 21 hours. This severely restricts the experiments involving the nuclide. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ121 Battery

Additionally, since 1990 no facility has routinely produced 28Mg and the price per mCi is now predicted to be approximately US$30,000. The chemical nature of Mg2+ is such that it is closely approximated by few other cations.  However, Co2+, Mn2+ and Ni2+ have been used successfully to mimic the properties of Mg2+ in some enzyme reactions, Sony VAIO VGN-TZ13 Battery

and radioactive forms of these elements have been employed successfully in cation transport studies. The difficulty of using metal ion replacement in the study of enzyme function is that the relationship between the enzyme activities with the replacement ion compared to the original is very difficult to ascertain.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ130N/B Battery

By fluorescent indicators

A number of chelators of divalent cations have different fluorescence spectra in the bound and unbound states. Chelators for Ca2+are well established, have high affinity for the cation, and low interference from other ions. Mg2+ chelators lag behind and the major fluorescence dye for Mg2+ (mag-fura 2 ) actually has a higher affinity for Ca2+.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ131 Battery

This limits the application of this dye to cell types where the resting level of Ca2+ is < 1 ?M and does not vary with the experimental conditions under which Mg2+ is to be measured. Recently, Otten et al. (2001) have described work into a new class of compounds that may prove more useful, having significantly better binding affinities for Mg2+.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ132/N Battery

The use of the fluorescent dyes is limited to measuring the free Mg2+. If the ion concentration is buffered by the cell by chelation or removal to subcellular compartments, the measured rate of uptake will only give minimum values of km and Vmax.

By electrophysiology

First, ion-specific microelectrodes can be used to measure the internal free ion concentration of cells and organelles. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ132N Battery

The major advantages are that readings can be made from cells over relatively long periods of time, and that unlike dyes very little extra ion buffering capacity is added to the cells.

Second, the technique of two-electrode voltage-clamp allows the direct measurement of the ion flux across the membrane of a cell.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ150N/B Battery

The membrane is held at an electric potential and the responding current is measured. All ions passing across the membrane contribute to the measured current.

Third, the technique of patch-clamp which uses isolated sections of natural or artificial membrane in much the same manner as voltage-clamp but without the secondary effects of a cellular system. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ150N/N Battery

Under ideal conditions the conductance of individual channels can be quantified. This methodology gives the most direct measurement of the action of ion channels.

By absorption spectroscopy

Flame atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) determines the total magnesium content of a biological sample.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ160CB Battery

This method is destructive; biological samples must be broken down in concentrated acids to avoid clogging the fine nebulising apparatus. Beyond this the only limitation is that samples need to be in a volume of approximately 2 mL and at a concentration range of 0.1 – 0.4 µmol/L for optimum accuracy.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ160N/B Battery

As this technique cannot distinguish between Mg2+ already present in the cell and that taken up during the experiment only content not uptake can be quantified.

Inductively coupled plasma (ICP) using either the mass spectrometry (MS) or atomic emission spectroscopy (AES) modifications also allows the determination of the total ion content of biological samples.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ16GN/B Battery

These techniques are more sensitive than flame AAS and are capable of measuring the quantities of multiple ions simultaneously. However, they are also significantly more expensive.

Magnesium transport

The chemical and biochemical properties of Mg2+ present the cellular system with a significant challenge when transporting the ion across biological membranes. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ16N Battery

The dogma of ion transport states that the transporter recognises the ion then progressively removes the water of hydration, removing most or all of the water at a selective pore before releasing the ion on the far side of the membrane.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ16N/B Battery

Due to the properties of Mg2+, large volume change from hydrated to bare ion, high energy of hydration and very low rate of ligand exchange in the inner coordination sphere, these steps are probably more difficult than for most other ions. To date, only the ZntA protein of Paramecium has been shown to be a Mg2+ channel.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ17/N Battery

The mechanisms of Mg2+ transport by the remaining proteins are beginning to be uncovered with the first three dimensional structure of a Mg2+ transport complex being solved in 2004.

The hydration shell of the Mg2+ ion has a very tightly bound inner shell of six water molecules and a relatively tightly bound second shell containing 12 – 14 water molecules (Markham et al., 2002).Sony VAIO VGN-TZ170N/B Battery

Thus recognition of the Mg2+ ion probably requires some mechanism to interact initially with the hydration shell of Mg2+, followed by a direct recognition/binding of the ion to the protein. Due to the strength of the inner sphere complexation between Mg2+ and any ligand, Sony VAIO VGN-TZ170N/N Battery

multiple simultaneous interactions with the transport protein at this level might significantly retard the ion in the transport pore. Hence, it is possible that much of the hydration water is retained during transport, allowing the weaker (but still specific) outer sphere coordination.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ17GN/B Battery

In spite of the mechanistic difficulty, Mg2+ must be transported across membranes, and a large number of Mg2+ fluxes across membranes from a variety of systems have been described.  However, only a small selection of Mg2+ transporters have been characterised at the molecular level.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ17N Battery

Ligand ion channel blockade

Magnesium ions (Mg2+) in cellular biology are usually in almost all senses opposite to Ca2+ ions, because they are bivalent too, but have greater electronegativity and thus hold on to water molecules stronger, preventing passage through the channel (even though magnesium is smaller). Thus Mg2+ ions block Ca2+ channels (NMDA channels) for example, etc.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ18/N Battery

Plant physiology of magnesium

The previous sections have dealt in detail with the chemical and biochemical aspects of Mg2+ and its transport across cellular membranes. This section will apply this knowledge to aspects of whole plant physiology, in an attempt to show how these processes interact with the larger and more complex environment of the multicellular organism.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ180N/RC Battery

Nutritional requirements and interactions

Mg2+ is essential for plant growth and is present in higher plants in amounts on the order of 80 ?mol g?1 dry weight. The amounts of Mg2+ vary in different parts of the plant and are dependent upon nutritional status. In times of plenty, excess Mg2+ may be stored in vascular cells (Stelzer et al., 1990;Sony VAIO VGN-TZ185N/WC Battery

and in times of starvation Mg2+ is redistributed, in many plants, from older to newer leaves.

Mg2+ is taken up into plants via the roots. Interactions with other cations in the rhizosphere can have a significant effect on the uptake of the ion.(Kurvits and Kirkby, 1980;Sony VAIO VGN-TZ18GN/X Battery

The structure of root cell walls is highly permeable to water and ions, and hence ion uptake into root cells, can occur anywhere from the root hairs to cells located almost in the centre of the root (limited only by the Casparian strip). Plant cell walls and membranes carry a great number of negative charges and the interactions of cations with these charges is key to the uptake of cations by root cells allowing a local concentrating effect. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ18N Battery

Mg2+ binds relatively weakly to these charges, and can be displaced by other cations, impeding uptake and causing deficiency in the plant.

Within individual plant cells the Mg2+ requirements are largely the same as for all cellular life; Sony VAIO VGN-TZ190N/B Battery

Mg2+ is used to stabilise membranes, is vital to the utilisation of ATP, is extensively involved in the nucleic acid biochemistry, and is a cofactor for many enzymes (including the ribosome). Also, Mg2+ is the coordinating ion in the chlorophyll molecule. It is the intracellular compartmentalisation of Mg2+ in plant cells that leads to additional complexity.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ190N/BC Battery

Four compartments within the plant cell have reported interactions with Mg2+. Initially Mg2+ will enter the cell into the cytoplasm (by an as yet unidentified system), but free Mg2+ concentrations in this compartment are tightly regulated at relatively low levels (?2 mmol/L) and so any excess Mg2+ is either quickly exported or stored in the second intracellular compartment, the vacuole.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ191N/XC Battery

The requirement for Mg2+ in mitochondria has been demonstrated in yeast and it seems highly likely that the same will apply in plants. The chloroplasts also require significant amounts of internal Mg2+, and low concentrations of cytoplasmic Mg2+. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ195N/XC Battery

In addition, it seems likely that the other subcellular organelles (e.g. Golgi, endoplasmic reticulum, etc.) also require Mg2+.

Distributing magnesium ions within the plant

Once in the cytoplasmic space of root cells Mg2+, along with the other cations, is probably transported radially into the stele and the vascular tissue.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ198N/RC Battery

From the cells surrounding the xylem the ions are released or pumped into the xylem and carried up through the plant. In the case of Mg2+, which is highly mobile in both the xylem and phloem, the ions will be transported to the top of the plant and back down again in a continuous cycle of replenishment. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ250N/B Battery

Hence, uptake and release from vascular cells is probably a key part of whole plant Mg2+ homeostasis. Figure 1 shows how few processes have been connected to their molecular mechanisms (only vacuolar uptake has been associated with a transport protein, AtMHX).Sony VAIO VGN-TZ250N/N Battery

The diagram shows a schematic of a plant and the putative processes of Mg2+ transport at the root and leaf where Mg2+ is loaded and unloaded from the vascular tissues.  Mg2+ is taken up into the root cell wall space (1) and interacts with the negative charges associated with the cell walls and membranes.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ250N/P Battery

Mg2+ may be taken up into cells immediately (symplastic pathway) or may travel as far as the Casparian band (4) before being absorbed into cells (apoplastic pathway; 2). The concentration of Mg2+ in the root cells is probably buffered by storage in root cell vacuoles (3). Note that cells in the root tip do not contain vacuoles. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ27/N Battery

Once in the root cell cytoplasm Mg2+ travels towards the centre of the root by plasmodesmata, where it is loaded into the xylem (5) for transport to the upper parts of the plant. When the Mg2+ reaches the leaves it is unloaded from the xylem into cells (6) and again is buffered in vacuoles (7). Sony VAIO VGN-TZ270N/B Battery

Whether cycling of Mg2+ into the phloem occurs via general cells in the leaf (8) or directly from xylem to phloem via transfer cells (9) is unknown. Mg2+ may return to the roots in the phloem sap.

When a Mg2+ ion has been absorbed by a cell requiring it for metabolic processes, it is generally assumed that the ion stays in that cell for as long as the cell is active.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ27N Battery

In vascular cells this is not always the case; in times of plenty Mg2+ is stored in the vacuole, takes no part in the day-to-day metabolic processes of the cell (Stelzer et al., 1990) , and is released at need. But for most cells it is death by senescence or injury that releases Mg2+ and many of the other ionic constituents, recycling them into healthy parts of the plant.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ28/N Battery

Additionally, when Mg2+ in the environment is limiting some species are able to mobilise Mg2+ from older tissues. These processes involve the release of Mg2+ from its bound and stored states and its transport back into the vascular tissue, where it can be distributed to the rest of the plant.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ285N/RC Battery

In times of growth and development Mg2+ is also remobilised within the plant as source and sink relationships change.

The homeostasis of Mg2+ within single plant cells is maintained by processes occurring at the plasma membrane and at the vacuole membrane (see Figure 2). The major driving force for the translocation of ions in plant cells is ?pH.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ28N Battery

H+-ATPases pump H+ ions against their concentration gradient to maintain the pH differential that can be used for the transport of other ions and molecules. H+ ions are pumped out of the cytoplasm into the extracellular space or into the vacuole. The entry of Mg2+ into cells may occur through one of two pathways, Sony VAIO VGN-TZ290EAB Battery

via channels using the ?? (negative inside) across this membrane or by symport with H+ ions. To transport the Mg2+ ion into the vacuole requires a Mg2+/H+ antiport transporter (such as AtMHX). It is interesting to note that the H+-ATPases are dependent on Mg2+ (bound to ATP) for activity, so that Mg2+ is required to maintain its own homeostasis.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ290EAN Battery

A schematic of a plant cell is shown including the four major compartments currently recognised as interacting with Mg2+. H+-ATPases maintain a constant ?pH across the plasma membrane and the vacuole membrane. Mg2+ is transported into the vacuole using the energy of ?pH (in A. thaliana by AtMHX).Sony VAIO VGN-TZ290EAP Battery

Transport of Mg2+ into cells may use either the negative ?? or the ?pH. The transport of Mg2+ into mitochondria probably uses ?? as in the mitochondria of yeast, and it is likely that chloroplasts take Mg2+ by a similar system. The mechanism and the molecular basis for the release of Mg2+ from vacuoles and from the cell is not known.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ295N/XC Battery

Likewise the light-regulated Mg2+ concentration changes in chloroplasts are not fully understood, but do require the transport of H+ions across the thylakoid membrane.

Magnesium, chloroplasts and photosynthesis

Mg2+ is the coordinating metal ion in the chlorophyll molecule, and in plants where the ion is in high supply about 6% of the total Mg2+ is bound to chlorophyll.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ298N/XC Battery

Thylakoid stacking is stabilised by Mg2+ and is important for the efficiency of photosynthesis, allowing phase transitions to occur.

Mg2+ is probably taken up into chloroplasts to the greatest extent during the light induced development from proplastid to chloroplast or etioplast to chloroplast.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ33/B Battery

At these times the synthesis of chlorophyll and the biogenesis of the thylakoid membrane stacks absolutely require the divalent cation.

Whether Mg2+ is able to move into and out of chloroplasts after this initial developmental phase has been the subject of several conflicting reports.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ33/N Battery

Deshaies et al.(1984) found that Mg2+ did move in and out of isolated chloroplasts from young pea plants,  but Gupta and Berkowitz (1989) were unable to reproduce the result using older spinach chloroplasts. Deshaies et al. had stated in their paper that older pea chloroplasts showed less significant changes in Mg2+ content than those used to form their conclusions. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ33/W Battery

Perhaps the relative proportion of immature chloroplasts present in the preparations might explain these observations.

The metabolic state of the chloroplast changes considerably between night and day. During the day the chloroplast is actively harvesting the energy of light and converting it into chemical energy.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ350N/B Battery

The activation of the metabolic pathways involved comes from the changes in the chemical nature of the stroma on the addition of light. H+ is pumped out of the stroma (into both the cytoplasm and the lumen) leading to an alkaline pH. Mg2+ (along with K+) is released from the lumen into the stroma, in an electroneutralisation process to balance the flow of H+.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ350N/N Battery

Finally, thiol groups on enzymes are reduced by a change in the redox state of the stroma. Examples of enzymes activated in response to these changes are fructose 1,6-bisphosphatase, sedoheptulose bisphosphatase and ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ350N/P Battery

During the dark period, if these enzymes were active a wasteful cycling of products and substrates would occur.

Two major classes of the enzymes that interact with Mg2+ in the stroma during the light phase can be identified. Firstly, enzymes in the glycolytic pathway most often interact with two atoms of Mg2+. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ370N/B Battery

The first atom is as an allosteric modulator of the enzymes’ activity, while the second forms part of the active site and is directly involved in the catalytic reaction. The second class of enzymes include those where the Mg2+ is complexed to nucleotide di- and tri-phosphates (ADP and ATP) and the chemical change involves phosphoryl transfer. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ37N/G Battery

Mg2+ may also serve in a structural maintenance role in these enzymes (e.g. enolase).

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