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Tree Physiol. 1992 Sep;11(2):171-83.

Absorption and assimilation of nitrate and ammonium ions by jack pine seedlings.

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  • 1Centre de recherche en biologie forestière, Faculté de foresterie de géomatique, Université Laval, Sainte-Foy, Québec G1V 2J3, Canada.


Jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) seedlings were grown in a shaded or unshaded light regime with either NO(3) (-)- or NH(4) (+)-N as the sole N source. After three months, seedlings grown with NH(4) (+)-N were larger than seedlings grown with NO(3) (-)-N. Irradiance had a greater effect on growth of ammonium-fed seedlings than on growth of nitrate-fed seedlings.At all times from 6 to 24 h following incorporation of (15)N, soluble, insoluble, and total (15)N contents of shoots and roots were higher in ammonium-fed seedlings than in nitrate-fed seedlings. The pattern of (15)N accumulation in shoots was similar to that in roots. After 6 and 24 h of (15)N incorporation, unshaded, ammonium-fed seedlings had 8.8 and 2.8 times greater total (15)N contents, respectively, than unshaded, nitrate-fed seedlings. In response to shading, ammonium-fed seedlings increased their total uptake of (15)N per unit root weight, whereas nitrate-fed seedlings did not. No nitrate or (15)NO(3) (-) was detected in any plant tissue. Nitrate-fed plants had higher NH(4) (+), Asp, and Gln concentrations in needles and higher gamma-aminobutyric acid and Arg concentrations in stems. Accumulation of (15)N in roots was not affected by the pH of the (15)N solution or by the N source fed to the seedlings before the period of (15)N incorporation. Thus NO(3) (-) transport into roots, rather than its reduction or transport within the plant, seems to be the factor limiting the growth of jack pine supplied with NO(3) (-)-N as the sole N source.

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