Growth and Nitrate Uptake Properties of Higher Plants: Relations to External and Internal Nitrogen

  • C.-M. Larsson
  • P. Oscarson


Nitrate-N supplied by fertilization or produced via microbial activity becomes available to plants by mass flow and/or diffusion. Under well-irrigated and -fertilized conditions in the field, it does not appear that movement of solutes to the root surface limits yield, even at very high levels of productivity (Barraclough 1986). However, in a natural environment or in less intensive agricultural practice, nutrient flow to the plants may become limiting for growth. Under these conditions, the overall limitation of nutrient availability is that set by integration of nutrient flux and root growth, not by nutrient concentration (for reviews on these matters, see e.g. Nye and Tinker 1977; Ingestad 1982; Haynes 1986; Robinson 1986). Physiological effects of nutrient flux limitation has, however, only received minor attention in experimental studies on plant nutrition, where the concept of concentration control has been favoured. As alternatives to concentration control, nutrients can be supplied to the plants in a desired relation to either a previously established growth curve (programmed nutrient addition; Asher and Cowie 1970, reviewed by Asher and Edwards 1983), or the amount of nutrient already bound in biomass (the relative addition rate concept: Ingestad and Lund 1979; reviewed by Ingestad 1982; Ingestad and Lund 1986). In the sense that nutrients are added in a fixedrelation to biomass and/or nutrients bound in the culture, these concepts have principal similarities to that used for culture of microorganisms in chemostats. In the present communication growth and nitrate uptake kinetics will be described for plants maintained under flux limitation, using the relative addition rate concept and nitrate-N as the limiting nutrient.


Nitrate Uptake Plant Cell Environ Unstirred Layer Intensive Agricultural Practice Swedish Natural Science Research Council 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Asher CJ, Cowie AM (1970) Programmed nutrient addition - A simple method for controlling the nutrient status of plants. Proc Aust Plant Nutr Conf, Mt Gambier, S Aust, Sect 1 (b), pp 28–32Google Scholar
  2. Asher CJ, Edwards DG (1983) Modern solution culture techniques. In: Lauchli A, Bieleski RL (eds) Inorganic Plant Nutrition. Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology, Vol 15A, Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 94–119Google Scholar
  3. Barraclough PB (1986) The growth and activity of winter wheat roots in the field: nutrient inflows of high-yielding crops. J Agile Sci 106: 53–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Freijsen AHJ, Otten H (1987) A comparison of the response of two Plantago species to nitrate availability in culture experiments with exponential nutrient addition. Oecologia 74: 389–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Haynes RJ (1986) Mineral nitrogen in the plant-soil system. Academic Press, London Hirose T, Freijsen AHJ, Lambers H (1988) Modelling of the responses to nitrogen availability of two Plantago species grown at range of exponential nutrient addition rates. Plant Cell Environ 11: 827–834Google Scholar
  6. Ingemarsson B, Johansson L, Larsson C-M (1984) Photosynthesis and nitrogen utilization in exponentially growing nitrogen-limited cultures of Lemna gibba. Physiol Plant 62: 363–369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ingemarsson B, Oscarson P, af Ugglas M, Larsson C-M (1987) Nitrogen utilization in Lemna. II. Studies of nitrate uptake using 13N03-. Plant Physiol 85: 860–864PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ingestad T (1982) Relative addition rates and external concentration: Driving variables used in plant nutrition research. Plant Cell Environ 5: 443–45343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ingestad T, Lund A-B. (1979) Nitrogen stress in birch seedlings. I. Growth technique and growth. Physiol Plant 45: 137–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ingestad T, Lund A-B (1986) Theory and techniques for steady state mineral nutrition and growth of plants. Scand J Forest Res 1: 439–453CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Nye PH, Tinker PB (1977) Solute movement in the soil-root system. Blackwell Scientific Publ, LondonGoogle Scholar
  12. Oscarson P, Larsson C-M (1986) Relations between uptake and utilization of NO3 -; in Pisum growing exponentially under nitrogen limitation. Physiol Plant 67: 109–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Oscarson P, Ingemarsson B, af Ugglas M, Larsson C-M. (1987) Short-term studies of NO3 uptake in Pisum using 13N03 -. Planta 170: 550–555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Oscarson P, Ingemarsson B, Larsson C-M (1989 a) Growth and nitrate uptake properties of plants grown at different relative rates of nitrogen supply. I. Growth of Pisum and Lemna in relation to nitrogen. Plant Cell Environ 12: 779–785CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Oscarson P, Ingemarsson B, Larsson C-M (1989 b) Growth and nitrate uptake properties of plants grown at different relative rates of nitrogen supply, n. Activity and affinity of the nitrate uptake system in Pisum and Lemna in relation to nitrogen availability and nitrogen demand. Plant Cell Environ 12: 787–794CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Robinson D (1986) Limits to nutrient inflow rates in roots and root systems. Physiol Plant 68: 551–559CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • C.-M. Larsson
    • 1
  • P. Oscarson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of StockholmStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of Crop Genetics and BreedingThe Swedish University of Agricultural SciencesSvalövSweden

Personalised recommendations