Root nitrogen acquisition and assimilation

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Miller, A. J. and Cramer, M. D. 2005. Root nitrogen acquisition and assimilation. Plant and Soil. 274 (1-2), pp. 1-36.

AuthorsMiller, A. J. and Cramer, M. D.

Nitrogen (N) is the main mineral element in plant tissues and almost all of this nutrient is acquired from the soil by the roots. Nitrogen is available in many different forms in the soil, but the three most abundant forms are nitrate, ammonium and amino acids. The relative importance of these different soil N pools to a plant is difficult to measure and depends on many different environmental factors. Changes in the available amounts and imbalance in the supply of some N forms can even be toxic to plants and in extreme cases can lead to changes in the vegetation. However, the importance of this element for agriculture is reflected in the amounts of N-fertiliser applied to crops and this is a major cost (economic and environmental) for world agriculture. This review covers the molecular mechanisms that the plant uses for accessing these soil N pools and briefly includes consideration of the root N assimilatory pathways that exist in the plant. The soil forms of N that are used by plants depend on many factors, but a series of different transporter and assimilatory genes that can provide access to these pools have been identified. This information can now provide the molecular tools to identify the N sources accessed by a plant and the relative importance of these different pools.

Keywordsammonium; amino acid; fertiliser; metabolism; nitrate; reduction; soil; toxicity; transporter uptake
Year of Publication2005
JournalPlant and Soil
Journal citation274 (1-2), pp. 1-36
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
European Union
Funder project or code502
The cell biology of nitrogen acquisition and allocation
Publisher's version
Copyright license
Publisher copyright
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online01 Jul 2005
Publication process dates
Accepted05 Mar 2004

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