TitleComparison of uptake of different N forms by soil microorganisms and two wet-grassland plants: A pot study
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsKaštovská, E
Keywordsamino acids, Ammonium, Grassland soil, Nitrate, Plant N demand, Plant-microbial competition
Abstract

Two common plant species of temperate wet grasslands, Carex acuta and Glyceria maxima, were tested for their preferences in the uptake of different nitrogen (N) sources (amino acid, ammonium, nitrate) and their ability to compete for these sources with soil microorganisms. The experiment was a one-day incubation study with plants growing in soil obtained from the field, which was supplied with a solution containing the three N sources, one at a time labeled with (15)N. The bulk of the N demand of both species was covered by nitrate-N, which was the dominant N form in the soil at the time of the experiment. Ammonium-N was taken up less strongly, and organic N formed only a negligible part of their nutrition. The assimilated inorganic N was preferentially transported to apical meristem of the youngest leaf, while organic N remained mostly in the roots. The fast-growing Glyceria took up more N and was a better competitor vis-a-vis soil microbes for rarer N forms than Carex. However, both plants were poor competitors for N vis-A-vis soil microbes, irrespective of the N form. Microbes took up nitrate ca. five times faster and organic N more than a hundred times faster than plants. Correspondingly, the calculated turnover time of microbial N was 17 days, compared to 40 days for N in plant roots. A significant amount of added 15N was found at non-exchangeable sites in the soil, which points to the importance of microbial N transformation and abiotic N fixation for N retention in soil. In summary, the preferential assimilation of inorganic N by the wetland plants studied here and their poor ability to compete for N with soil microbes over the short term agree with the results of studies carried out with other species from temperate grasslands. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI10.1016/j.soilbio.2011.02.021