REDOX plays a critical role in crop production, particularly under stress conditions, with recent developments in fertilizers utilizing REDOX controls to boost production under increased stress, spawning a number of high-efficiency product companies (eg. Redoxchem, Redoxturf, Redoxagro).

The mechanism for organ formation in plants consists of an initial phase of cell proliferation and primary morphogenesis, followed by the second phase of cell expansion, secondary morphogenesis, and endoreduplication. Accumulating evidence indicates that cell proliferation and shoot and root meristem activities are influenced by cellular redox state. However, the mechanisms that underpin these responses and the pathways of oxidative activation of the cell cycle are not as clearly defined in plants as they are in animals.

Most information on agricultural production stress the importance of pH balance in soils on plant nutrient availability and growth, but not so much on REDOX balance. REDOX balance is similar in concept to pH balance, as this article explains. The main difference between acid-base balance and redox balance in a titration procedure is that acid-base titration involves acid and a base whereas the redox titration involves two redox species (see image).

In a redox reaction, the number of electrons that are circulated remains constant, meaning that the electrons which are released by the oxidizing species need to get accepted by the reducing species, depending on the stoichiometry of the reaction.

Some redox species act as self-indicators such as MnO4 ions which lose its purple color upon its reduction to Mn2+. In other cases, such as reactions where I2 molecules are involved, starch is used as an indicator as it produces a color due to the formation of a complex with Iodine. In general, the ‘d’ block elements such as Fe2+/Fe3+, Cr3+/Cr6+, Mn7+/Mn2+ commonly take part in redox reactions as they have variable oxidation numbers.

The most important biological processes involving redox reactions is Cellular respiration, for instance, the oxidation of glucose (C6H12O6) to CO2 and the reduction of oxygen to water. The summary equation for cell respiration is:C6H12O6 + 6 O2 → 6 CO2 + 6 H2O. The process of cell respiration also depends heavily on the reduction of NAD+ to NADH and the reverse reaction (the oxidation of NADH to NAD+).

It’s clear that the importance of biological energy storage and release by means of redox reactions could be critical optimizing health at the cellular level.