Minimum law

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Minimum ton

The law of the minimum (from the Latin minimum , "the slightest"; published by Carl Sprengel in 1828, popularized by Justus von Liebig in an expanded form) states that the growth of plants can be achieved through the relatively scarce resource (nutrients such as carbon dioxide, water, light etc. ) is restricted. This resource is also known as the minimum factor . In the presence of such a deficiency factor, there is no impact on growth if a resource is added that is already available to the required extent. Among other things, the law of the minimum is an important basis for fertilization .

The “minimum bin” functions as a model of the law: a bin with staves of different lengths can only be filled up to the height of the shortest stave. Likewise, an organism can only develop as far as the scarcest resource allows.

In the economic theory of production , a similar law is described by the Leontief production function.

Minimum factor and yield

The minimum law has been a special basis for quantitative agricultural chemistry since the middle of the 19th century. At that time, many soils in Central Europe were depleted in numerous nutrients due to heavy use . The introduction of mineral fertilization brought about considerable increases in yield. Today five to six times higher yields are common.

In the course of time it became clear that the law of the minimum does not apply uniformly under all conditions. It was therefore supplemented by Georg Liebscher in 1895 with the law of optimum : the plants use the minimum production factor to produce more substances, the more the other production factors are in optimal proportions.

In 1909 Eilhard Alfred Mitscherlich's contribution The Law of the Minimum and the Law of Decreasing Land Yield was published . Accordingly, each individual growth factor can increase the level of income with a specific intensity (effect factor). As the maximum yield approaches, however, the additional yield becomes significantly lower due to a further increase in a growth factor compared to the expenditure.

Feed supplementation

The biological value of the protein of food and feedstuffs by each tightest relative amino acid determined. By adding small amounts of a nutritional limiting amino acid to a feed, its nutritional value can be increased significantly. The supplementation of animal feed with lysine and / or methionine is of considerable economic importance for industrial amino acid manufacturers ( Evonik Industries AG and Ajinomoto KK ) with annual sales of several billion euros .