, Volume 214, Issue 1-2, pp 133-140

Ammonium and nitrate uptake by Eucalyptus nitens: effects of pH and temperature

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Ammonium and nitrate uptake by roots of Eucalyptus nitens was characterised with respect to pH and temperature. Uptake of ammonium and nitrate was measured as depletion from solutions by roots of intact 11 week old solution-cultured seedlings. Uptake rates of ammonium were consistently higher than those of nitrate in all experiments. Uptake rates for ammonium were 200% higher at pH 4 than at pH 6, but for nitrate were unchanged. Uptake rates of ammonium and nitrate were both reduced to a similar extent (70%) with a decrease in temperature from 20 °C to 10 °C. For ammonium uptake, there was rapid (<24 hr) adaptation to a reduction in root temperature. The apparent preference shown here for ammonium over nitrate could be indicative of E. nitens growing in cold, acidic forest soils where ammonium is commonly more available than nitrate. These results suggest that N uptake rates of E. nitens may be maximised under a wide variety of conditions if N is supplied predominantly in the ammonium form.

This revised version was published online in June 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.