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Determination of Ammonium Turnover and Flow Patterns Close to Roots Using Imaging Optodes

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journal contribution
posted on 01.03.2008, 00:00 by Niklas Strömberg
The physical effect of nitrogen upon plants has been studied thoroughly; however, direct studies of nitrogen turnover close to roots have been limited by analytical techniques with low spatial and temporal resolution. Thus, little is known about differences in turnover taking place along and between intact root structures over time as well as how root arrangement, root cell type, plant age, microbial activity, and the dark/light cycle influence uptake and supply of nutrients to root structures. In this study an imaging (planar) optode was used to quantify ammonium over time close to an intact root system of a large fruit bearing tomato plant (Lycopersicon esculentum). Images throughout the experiment made it possible to define the ammonium depletion zone and active turnover potential as well as determine turnover rate and flow patterns around the root system over time. The results indicated that ammonium uptake for tomato plants proceeds over the entire root structure but transverse thin peripheral roots are about twice as efficient as the main root and that the uptake process might influence nutrient availability. The flow patterns close to the root structure revealed that apical regions seem to have a central role in ammonium acquisition.