Potassium

Definition

Potassium (K, atomic number 19) is an alkali metal and its ions (K+) are necessary for the function of all living cells. Potassium is important in hyperpolarization of membranes during nerve transmission and in regulating a cell's osmotic balance. Potassium is transported across membranes by potassium channels and the ion pump Na+/K+-ATPase.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    Salinization of cultivated land and the need to increase agricultural productivity make the development of salt-resistant crops imperative. Field trials show that a durum wheat containing a sodium transporter derived from an ancestral wheat relative produces substantially more grain than a commercial durum wheat lacking this transporter on saline soil.

    • Rana Munns
    • , Richard A James
    • , Bo Xu
    • , Asmini Athman
    • , Simon J Conn
    • , Charlotte Jordans
    • , Caitlin S Byrt
    • , Ray A Hare
    • , Stephen D Tyerman
    • , Mark Tester
    • , Darren Plett
    •  & Matthew Gilliham
    Nature Biotechnology 30, 360–364

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    New data suggest that treatment with patiromer or sodium zirconium cyclosilicate for up to 8 weeks reduces plasma potassium levels in hyperkalaemic patients. If proven safe and effective for long-term use, these therapies might be administered together with intensive renin–angiotensin–aldosterone blockade to reduce adverse effects and renal and cardiovascular risk.

    • Sara S. Roscioni
    •  & Hiddo J. Lambers Heerspink