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Nitrate reductase activity in roots and shoots of aquatic macrophytes
Cedergreen, N.; Madsen, T.V. (2003). Nitrate reductase activity in roots and shoots of aquatic macrophytes. Aquat. Bot. 76(3): 203-212.
In: Aquatic Botany. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0304-3770, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Ammonium compounds; Aquatic plants; Nitrates; Reduction; Roots; Shoots; Fresh water
Author keywords
    nitrate reductase activity (NRA); nitrogen nutrition; ammoniuminhibition; shoot : root reduction

Authors  Top 
  • Cedergreen, N.
  • Madsen, T.V.

    Aquatic macrophytes grow in an environment where nitrogen can be available at quantitatively significant concentrations around both roots and shoots. Because of the generally higher concentration of NO3- in the bulk water compared to the sediment, and because of the energetic advantage of reducing NO3- in shoots compared to roots, aquatic plants were expected primarily to reduce NO3- in shoots. To test this hypothesis, nitrate reductase activity (NRA) of roots and shoots was measured in vitro on 18 aquatic macrophytes, representing 12 species. The plants were collected at seven locations with bulk water [NO3-] ranging from 0 to 550 μM and interstitial water [NO3-] ranging from 2 to 400 μM. All plants exhibited low NRA (<2 μmol NO2- g-1 DW h-1) in both roots and shoots, except for the amphibious species, Cardamine amare, where shoot NRA reached 24 μmol NO2- g-1 DW h-1. Higher NRA was however inducible, increasing 2-17 times in five selected species when induced with 500 μM NO3-. In 11 out of 17 plants with measurable NRA, the shoot:root NRA ratio was <1, showing that despite the proposed advantages of shoot NO3- reduction, root reduction is apparently still of importance in aquatic plants.

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