Applications of Continuous and Steady-State Methods to Root Biology

  • John G. Torrey
  • Lawrence J. Winship

Part of the Developments in Plant and Soil Sciences book series (DPSS, volume 34)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Warwick B. Silvester, Richard Parsons, Frank R. Minchin, John F. Witty
    Pages 55-66
  3. Lawrence J. Winship, Warwick B. Silvester
    Pages 121-146
  4. J. V. D. Rousseau, C. P. P. Reid
    Pages 183-196
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 233-245

About this book


This book provides an excellent illustration of the interrelationship between progress in scientific methodology and conceptual advances, and its publica­ tion should contribute to further advances. It is well known that major advances in understanding often follow the development of new methods. The development of the acetylene reduction assay for nitrogenase activity provides a good example of this interrelationship between theory and methods. Theoretical knowledge led to a search for substrates for nitro­ genase that could be assayed for more easily than ammonium, the normal product of the enzyme. The discovery of the reduction of acetylene to ethylene by nitrogenase provided the ideal answer to the problem by provid­ ing a rapid, specific, nondestructive, and inexpensive assay for nitrogenase activity. This assay is now used by almost every laboratory doing research on nitrogen fixation. However, further use and development of the acetylene reduction assay has shown that it can underestimate nitrogenase activity and can even give incorrect relative values under some circumstances. The major problem is that exposure of legume nodules to acetylene can cause a large increase in the resistance to oxygen diffusion into the nodule. This reduced supply of oxygen decreases the rate of nitrogenase activity within a few minutes.


Absorption Resorption bacteria biomass ecosystems environment natural ecosystems physiology soil

Editors and affiliations

  • John G. Torrey
    • 1
  • Lawrence J. Winship
    • 2
  1. 1.Harvard ForestPetershamUSA
  2. 2.School of Natural SciencesHampshire CollegeAmherstUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1989
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-94-010-7502-2
  • Online ISBN 978-94-009-2237-2
  • Buy this book on publisher's site