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Plant Physiol. 1980 Oct;66(4):710-4.

On the Gaseous Exchange of Ammonia between Leaves and the Environment: Determination of the Ammonia Compensation Point.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Biology, Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra City, ACT 2601, Australia.


Whole shoots of Phaseolus vulgaris L. and other species were exposed to a range of partial pressures of gaseous ammonia in air and the resulting fluxes were measured. Net uptake is linear with partial pressure in the range 5 to 50 nanobars and is zero at a finite partial pressure, termed the ammonia compensation point. Below the compensation point, ammonia (or possibly other volatile amines) is evolved by the leaves. The compensation points in several species are near the low partial pressures found in unpolluted air and approximate to the K(m) of glutamine synthetase in vitro. In P. vulgaris L., the compensation point increases with temperature.

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