Although only 2% of the dry weight of plants consists of the element nitrogen, compared to 40% for carbon, there are still a very large number of different nitrogen-containing organic substances known in plants. Nitrogen is first available to the plant in the form of ammonia, produced either from nitrogen fixation in the root (symbiotically in legumes) or from enzvmic reduction of absorbed nitrate in shoot and leaf. Nitrogen first appears in organic form as glutamine, the key reactions being the transfer of ammonia to glutamic acid, catalysed by glutamine synthetase, followed by the transfer of nitrogen from glutamine to α-ketoglutarate, catalysed by glutamine α-ketoglutarate aminotransferase. These two enzymes operate together in what is often termed the GS-GOGAT pathway. The other amino acids are subsequently synthesized from the corresponding α-keto acids, the amino group being passed on from glutamic acid through the catalytic action of non-specific aminotransferases. Amino acids are also involved in the biosynthesis of practically all the other nitrogenous plant compounds, from the proteins (see Chapter 7) to the alkaloids, amines, cyanogenic glycosides, porphyrins, purines, pyrimidines and cytokinins.
- Aromatic Amine
- Nitrogen Compound
- Cyanogenic Glycoside
- Pipecolic Acid
- Bitter Almond
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Harborne, J.B. (1984). Nitrogen Compounds. In: Phytochemical Methods. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-009-5570-7_5
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