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Mechanisms and Regulation of Ammonium Uptake in Higher Plants

  • Nicolaus von Wirén
  • Alain Gojon
  • Sylvain Chaillou
  • D. RaperJr
Chapter

Abstract

In soils, ammonium (NH4 +) mainly results from the mineralisation of organic matter and represents besides nitrate (NO3 ) the quantitatively most important source of nitrogen (N) for plant nutrition. In well-aerated agricultural soils, however, average annual NH4 + concentrations are often 10 to 1000 times lower than those of NO3 , rarely exceeding 50.µM (Marschner 1995). Despite these low concentrations in soils, NH4 + uptake by plant roots can proceed at very high rates, due to the presence of transport systems in the root plasma membrane with a particularly high substrate affinity. Indeed, NH4 + uptake is of major importance for N nutrition under numerous circumstances. On the one hand, NH4 + nutrition plays an essential role in waterlogged and acid soils, or in cold climates where nitrification is inhibited (Marschner 1995). On the other hand, under mixed N nutrition (NO3 plus NH4 +), NH4 + is often the preferential form of N taken up by the plant (Sasakawa and Yamamoto 1978; Gojon et al. 1986; Glass and Siddiqi 1995; Gazzarrini et al. 1999). NH4 + is also probably the main form of N exported from symbiotic N2-fixing microorganisms to their host plants, thereby making a major contribution to N nutrition in several plant families (Udvardi and Day 1997). In root nodules, NH4 + is transported across the symbiosome membrane which segregates the bacteroids from the plant cytosol (see Chap. 3). In this case, NH4 + concentrations in the plant cytosol can be about 50-fold lower than in the bacteroids (Streeter 1989), requiring low-affinity and high-capacity transport systems on the plant side, to ensure an efficient import of microbially fixed N (Tyerman et al. 1995).

Keywords

Glutamine Synthetase Ammonium Uptake Plant Nitrogen Ammonium Transporter High Substrate Affinity 
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.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicolaus von Wirén
    • 1
  • Alain Gojon
    • 2
  • Sylvain Chaillou
    • 3
  • D. RaperJr
    • 4
  1. 1.Zentrum für Molekularbiologie der PflanzenUniversität TübingenTübingenGermany
  2. 2.Biochimie et Physiologie Moléculaire des PlantesENSAM/INRA/UM2/CNRSMontpellier cedexFrance
  3. 3.Laboratoire de la Nutrition Azotée des PlantesINRAVersailles cedexFrance
  4. 4.Soil Science DepartmentNCSURaleighUSA

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