Gezelius K, Nasholm T
Free Amino-Acids and Protein in Scots Pine-Seedlings Cultivated at Different Nutrient Availabilities
Tree Physiology: 1993 13:71-86
Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) seedlings of a provenance from northern Sweden were cultivated hydroponically for 7 weeks in a climate chamber. The nutrient solution contained either 2.5 (low-N) or 50 (high-N) mg N l-1 with other essential elements added in a fixed optimal proportion to the nitrogen. After 5 and 7 weeks, the seedlings were analyzed for growth, total nitrogen and other essential nutrients, protein and free amino acids. Low-N seedlings grew more slowly and had higher root/shoot ratios than high-N seedlings. With respect to total nitrogen, the effect of the lower nutrient supply was mainly on the nitrogen content of the whole plant and the allocation of nitrogen among tissues, not on tissue nitrogen concentration. This was also the case for potassium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium. The proportions by weight among these macronutrients in the whole seedlings were similar in both nutrient regimes. The proportion and concentration of sulfur were significantly lower in low-N seedlings than in high-N seedlings, because of a lower net uptake of sulfur than of other macronutrients. The shoot, needles and stem of low-N seedlings had higher concentrations of free amino acids and lower concentrations of protein than the shoot, needles and stem of high-N seedlings. Arginine dominated the pool of free amino acids in the low-N seedlings, whereas glutamine predominated in the high-N seedlings. We conclude that Scots pine seedlings accumulated soluble nitrogen as arginine when net protein synthesis was limited by factors other than nitrogen availability. Nutritional imbalance, as revealed by growth characteristics and a suboptimal proportion and concentration of sulfur in the seedlings, probably affected synthesis of S-amino acids, resulting in the diversion of assimilated nitrogen to arginine instead of protein.
e-link to journal