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Plant Physiol. 1985 Aug;78(4):739-45.

Effect of N Source on the Steady State Growth and N Assimilation of P-limited Anabaena flos-aquae.

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  • 1Biology Department, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6.


Phosphate-limited chemostat cultures were used to study cell growth and N assimilation in Anabaena flos-aquae under various N sources to determine the relative energetic costs associated with the assimilation of NH(3), NO(3) (-), or N(2). Expressed as a function of relative growth rate, steady state cellular P contents and PO(4) assimilation rates did not vary with N-source. However, N-source did alter the maximal PO(4)-limited growth rate achieved by the cultures: the NO(3) (-) and N(2) cultures attained only 97 and 80%, respectively, of the maximal growth rate of the NH(3) grown cells. Cellular biomass and C contents did not vary with growth rate, but changed with N source. The NO(3) (-)-grown cells were the smallest (627 +/- 34 micromoles C . 10(-9) cells), while NH(3)-grown cells were largest (900 +/- 44 micromoles C . 10(-9) cells) and N(2)-fixing cells were intermediate (726 +/- 48 micromoles C . 10(-9) cells) in size. In the NO(3) (-)-and N(2)-grown cultures, N content per cell was only 57 and 63%, respectively, of that in the NH(3)-grown cells. Heterocysts were absent in NH(3)-grown cultures but were present in both the N(2) and NO(3) (-) cultures. In the NO(3) (-)-grown cultures C(2)H(2) reduction was detected only at high growth rates, where it was estimated to account for a maximum of 6% of the N assimilated. In the N(2)-fixing cultures the acetylene:N(2) ratio varied from 3.4:1 at lower growth rates to 3.0:1 at growth rates approaching maximal.Compared with NH(3), the assimilation of NO(3) (-) and N(2) resulted either in a decrease in cellular C (NO(3) (-) and N(2) cultures) or in a lower maximal growth rate (N(2) culture only). The observed changes in cell C content were used to calculate the net cost (in electron pair equivalents) associated with growth on NO(3) (-) or N(2) compared with NH(3).

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