Spatial distribution of ammonium and nitrate fluxes along roots of wetland plants

Y.Y. Fang, Olga Babourina, Zed Rengel, X.E. Yang, P.M. Pu

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    35 Citations (Scopus)


    Nothing is known about nutrient fluxes along the roots of floating and submerged macrophytes that may be used for removing nutrients from eutrophicated water systems. We have used ion-sensitive microelectrodes to measure fluxes of NH4+, NO3- and H+ along the root apices. One floating (Azolla spp.) and three submerged plant species (Vallisneria natans Lour. Hara; Bacopa monnieri L. Pennell; and Ludwigia repens J.R. Forst) were tested.Ion fluxes showed a specific pattern linked to root zones in all four species. The highest influx of all three ions was found in the meristem zone of B. monnieri, V natans and L. repens. B. monnieri had the greatest capacity to acidify the surrounding medium. In the four species studied, there was a consistent negative relationship between the fluxes of NO3- and H+ measured simultaneously along the root and a positive relationship between H+ and NH4+ fluxes. When NH4+ and NO3- were both present in the bathing medium, the meristem zone had the largest capacity for net NH4+ uptake, whereas the elongation zone showed the highest net NO3- uptake. In the short-term experiments, Azolla spp. had preference for NO3- uptake when NO3- was supplied as a sole source of nitrogen, whereas L. repens required both nitrogen forms in the medium for net nitrogen uptake. When NO3- and NH4+ fluxes were summed, L. repens had the largest and V repens the smallest nitrogen accumulation capacity.Therefore, for industrial purposes, when plants are used for removing N from eutrophicated water, plants species should be selected according to their preferences for different N forms. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)240-246
    JournalPlant Science
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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