Potassium

formula: K; CAS Registry Number: 7440-09-7

Naturally occurring alkali metal

Potassium is a common element but occurs in nature only as ionic salt.

It is of commercial interest mainly as component in fertilizers. Na-K-alloys are used as coolant in nuclear reactors. Further applications of potassium and its compounds include those in chemical and pharmaceutical industries, in glass and ceramics production, in electrical industry, measuring techniques, pyrotechnics, food industry and engineering.

Potassium is an essential element for all living organisms. Its toxicity is low and deficiency is more relevant than toxic effects.

Potassium contents in plants depend on the respective soils, species and age and vary between different parts of the plants. In animals, potassium is regulated and body concentrations are influenced e.g. by species, age, sex and weight.

Plants are capable of accumulating potassium.

Specimen

Earthworm (Aporrectodea longa) As an organism living at ground level, it is a major driver of the decomposition of organic material (e.g. plant litter).
Earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris) As an organism living at ground level, it is a major driver of the decomposition of organic material (e.g. plant litter).

Sampling area

Saarländischer Verdichtungsraum Important, old-industrialised conurbation in Germany.
Bornhöveder Seengebiet Main water divide between the North- and Baltic Sea
Verdichtungsraum Halle-Leipzig Region in the chemical triangle of Central Germany
Solling Second highest and largest low mountain range in Northern Germany
Oberbayerisches Tertiärhügelland The Upper Bavarian Tertiary Uplands are a part of the Southern German Molasse Basin

Sampling period

1994 - 2017