, Volume 63, Issue 1, pp 136-142

Nitrate content and nitrate reductase activity in Rumex obtusifolius L.

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With Rumex obtusifolius L., the influence of some environmental conditions on nitrate uptake and reduction were investigated. Nitrate concentrations of plant material were determined by HPLC, the activity of nitrate reductase by an “in vivo” test. As optimal incubation medium, a buffer containing 0.04 M KNO3; 0.25 M KH2PO4; 1.5% propanol (v/v); pH 8.0 was found. Vacuum infiltration caused an increase of enzyme activity of up to 40%.

High nitrate concentrations were found in roots and leaf petioles. Nitrate reductase activity of these organs, however, was low. On the other hand, the highest nitrate reductase activity was observed in leaf laminae, which contained lowest nitrate concentrations.

In leaves, nitrate content and nitrate reductase activity exhibited inverse diurnal fluctuations. During darkness, decreasing activities of the enzyme were followed by increasing nitrate concentrations, while during light the contrary was true. In petioles diurnal fluctuations in nitrate content were observed, too. No significant correlations with illumination, however, could be found.

Our results prove that Rumex obtusifolius is characterized by an intensive nitrate turnover. Theoretically, internal nitrate content of the plant would be exhausted within a few hours, if a supply via the roots would be excluded.