In the below segment of, "Tips from the Tailgate," Steve talks about soil synergy and its relationship to minerals, microbes and metabolites. The term metabolites can refer to plant nutrients, phytonutrients or biochemical compounds, but what we're really talking about is protein in grains, vitamins in forage, oils in sunflowers, flavonoids, cannabinoids...these are all secondary metabolites.
Hopefully this simplified description helps to explain this topic. Metabolism/Metabolites comes from the Greek word for "change." Enzymes are the biological catalysts that essentially change minerals into amino acids. There are 20-21 amino acids that form chains called Peptides (Greek for digest). When, with the help of microbes, these chains get large enough (50) they become proteins. This process is essential for all life forms. The simple fact is 20-21 amino acids, with the help of microbes, turn into 100,000 different proteins.
On the below periodic table of elements you can see the primary nutrients (NPK), and secondary nutrients, but then there are also 51 additional trace minerals that are beneficial to plant, livestock, and human health. The rare and trace minerals that we often don't even consider come into play as you move from the 20 amino acids to the hundreds of thousands of secondary metabolites. So when you have a wide range of minerals, more species of microbes than we are even aware of, and a catalyst in the soil...metabolites are formed.
This process is the key to plant health and the health of the animal or human that consumes the crop.
Soil Synergy requires many essential parts, you need macronutrients (or NPK), the micronutrients shown in the elemental chart above, carbon - which is a critical component, and both beneficial fungi and beneficial bacteria. The interesting part is that we can set the stage and add all of these moving parts but it's the plant that does the work, it produces the enzymes, the amino acids and the proteins.
Previously the sole driving force behind farming operations was to increase yield as much as possible. Now, more and more growers are getting paid for increased nutrient density. The concept of having the wide range of balanced minerals and bringing in as much biological diversity to your system as possible, sets the stage for those plants to fully maximize their yield and nutrient density potential.