Posted by Raif on Apr 04, 2017

Mineral (nutrient)

In the context of nutrition, a mineral is a chemical element required as an essential nutrient by organisms to perform functions necessary for life.Minerals originate in the earth and cannot be made by living organisms.Plants get minerals from soil. Most of the minerals in a human diet come from eating plants and animals or from drinking water.As a group, minerals is one of the four groups of essential nutrients, the others of which are vitamins, essential fatty acids, and essential amino acids.The five major minerals in the human body are calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and magnesium.All of the remaining elements in a human body are called "trace elements". The trace elements that have a specific biochemical function in the human body are iron, cobalt, copper, zinc, manganese, molybdenum, iodine, and selenium.

Most chemical elements that are ingested by organisms are in the form of simple compounds. Plants absorb dissolved elements in soils, which are subsequently ingested by the herbivores that eat them, and the elements move up the food chain. Larger organisms may also consume soil (geophagia) or use mineral resources, such as salt licks, to obtain limited minerals unavailable through other dietary sources.

Bacteria and fungi play an essential role in the weathering of primary elements that results in the release of nutrients for their own nutrition and for the nutrition of other species in the ecological food chain. One element, cobalt, is available for use by animals only after having been processed into complex molecules (e.g., vitamin B12) by bacteria. Minerals are used by animals and microorganisms for the process of mineralizing structures, called "biomineralization", used to construct bones, seashellseggshellsexoskeletons and mollusc shells.[6]