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Tree Physiol. 1986 Sep;1(2):145-50.

Effects of pretreatment conditions on ammonium and nitrate uptake by Douglas-fir seedlings.

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  • 1College of Forest Resources AR-10, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


Effects of pretreatment solutions containing varying concentrations of calcium, potassium, ammonium and nitrate were evaluated by measuring fluxes of the same ions during a subsequent 4-hour uptake by Douglas-fir seedlings. Maximal rate of ammonium uptake (11 microeq g(-1) root dry weight h(-1)) was about 5 times faster than that of nitrate (2 microeq g(-1) root dry weight h(-1)). Ammonium uptake was most rapid after pretreatment with low potassium levels and was unaffected by ammonium pretreatment. Nitrate uptake was most rapid after pretreatment with high levels of nitrate and low levels of potassium. Calcium uptake was greater when nitrate replaced ammonium as the N source. High calcium pretreatment levels depressed subsequent calcium uptake or resulted in calcium release in both ammonium and nitrate experiments. Potassium efflux occurred with both N sources, but the release was less during nitrate uptake than during ammonium uptake. Efflux of potassium is probably associated with the high potassium status of the seedlings and the exchange between potassium and other cations. High levels of potassium in the pretreatment solutions enhanced potassium efflux and caused a reduction in the subsequent rates of uptake of both ammonium and nitrate. Length of pretreatment and seedling size generally did not affect uptake rates.

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