Download the full-sized PDF of Ecological implications of single and mixed nitrogen nutrition in Arabidopsis thalianaDownload the full-sized PDF



Permanent link (DOI):


Export to: EndNote  |  Zotero  |  Mendeley


This file is in the following communities:

Roy Berg Kinsella Research Ranch


This file is in the following collections:

Journal Articles (Kinsella Ranch)

Ecological implications of single and mixed nitrogen nutrition in Arabidopsis thaliana Open Access


Author or creator
McNickle, G. G.
Deyholos, M. K.
Cahill Jr, J. F.
Additional contributors
nitrogen preferences
plant foraging
nitrogen partitioning
arabidopsis thaliana
amino acid uptake
reproductive output
Type of item
Journal Article (Published)
Background Ecologists recognize that plants capture nitrogen in many chemical forms that include amino acids. Access to multiple nitrogen types in plant communities has been argued to enhance plant performance, access to nitrogen and alter ecological interactions in ways that may promote species coexistence. However, data supporting these arguments have been limited. While it is known that plants uptake amino acids from soil, long term studies that link amino acid uptake to measures of plant performance and potential reproductive effort are not typically performed. Here, a series of experiments that link uptake of nitrate, glutamine or asparagine with lifetime reproductive effort in Arabidopsis thaliana are reported. Nitrogen was offered either singly or in mixture and at a variety of combinations. Traits related to reproductive output were measured, as was the preference for each type of nitrogen. Results When plants were supplied with a single nitrogen type at concentrations from 0.1-0.9 mM, the ranking of nitrogen types was nitrate > glutamine > asparagine in terms of the relative performance of plants. When plants were supplied with two types of nitrogen in mixture at ratios between 0.1:0.9-0.9:0.1 mM, again plants performed best when nitrate was present, and poorly when amino acids were mixed. Additionally, stable isotopes revealed that plants preferentially captured nitrogen types matching the hierarchy of nitrate > glutamine > asparagine. Comparing between the two experiments revealed that mixed nitrogen nutrition was a net cost to the plants. Conclusions Plant performance on mixed nitrogen was less than half the performance on equal amounts of any single nitrogen type. We asked: why did A. thaliana capture amino acids when doing so resulted in a net cost? We argue that available data cannot yet answer this question, but hypothesize that access to lower quality forms of nitrogen may become important when plants compete.
Date created
License information
Attribution 4.0 International

Citation for previous publication
GG McNickle, MK Deyholos, Cahill Jr, J.F. (2013). Ecological implications of single and mixed nitrogen nutrition in Arabidopsis thaliana. BMC ecology, 13 (1), 28.

Link to related item

File Details

Date Uploaded
Date Modified
Audit Status
Audits have not yet been run on this file.
File format: pdf (Portable Document Format)
Mime type: application/pdf
File size: 979978
Last modified: 2016:06:24 18:08:32-06:00
Filename: BMCEcol_13(28)
Original checksum: 8e63856ffd513c52c70d18ba7ac057f1
Copyright note: ??? 2013 McNickle et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Well formed: true
Valid: true
File title: Abstract
File title: Ecological implications of single and mixed nitrogen nutrition in Arabidopsis thaliana
Page count: 12
Activity of users you follow
User Activity Date