The reduction and accumulation of nitrate

  • Donald Spencer
Part of the Handbuch der Pflanzenphysiologie / Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology book series (532, volume 8)


Nitrate is the principal source of combined nitrogen utilized by higher plants. By the processes of autolysis and nitrification the nitrogen of soil organic matter is converted to ammonia and thence to nitrate. Within the plant nitrate is reduced, and converted into a wide range of organic nitrogen compounds of which the proteins constitute the major group. When a plant is supplied with N15-labelled nitrate, isotopic nitrogen is rapidly distributed throughout the tissues and incorporated into all major nitrogen fractions (Mendel and Visser 1951). Plants can utilize other nitrogen sources such as ammonia, nitrite and amino acids but in general nitrate will support growth equal to, or better than these other sources (Ghosh and Burris 1950). An exception is rice seedlings which are unable to utilize nitrate-N (Bonner 1946). Some organisms, e.g. Chlorella, when supplied both nitrate and ammonia-N preferentially utilize the ammonia-N, and no nitrate reduction occurs in the presence of ammonia-N (Cramer and Myers 1948).


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© Springer-Verlag oHG. Berlin · Göttingen · Heidelberg 1958

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  • Donald Spencer

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