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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R3S46H78V

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

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Author or creator
McNickle, G. G.
Deyholos, M. K.
Cahill Jr, J. F.
Additional contributors
Subject/Keyword
nitrogen preferences
plant foraging
nitrogen partitioning
arabidopsis thaliana
amino acid uptake
reproductive output
Type of item
Journal Article (Published)
Language
English
Place
Time
Description
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
2013
DOI
doi:10.7939/R3S46H78V
License information
Attribution 4.0 International
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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.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6785-13-28

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File format: pdf (Portable Document Format)
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Last modified: 2016:06:24 18:08:32-06:00
Filename: BMCEcol_13(28)
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Copyright note: ??? 2013 McNickle et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
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File title: Abstract
File title: Ecological implications of single and mixed nitrogen nutrition in Arabidopsis thaliana
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