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Interrelationships between Aspects of Nitrogen Metabolism and Solute Accumulation and the Distribution of Subtropical Woody Plants in Southeast Africa

J. Prior, J. Tuohy and J. Whiting
The New Phytologist
Vol. 107, No. 2 (Oct., 1987), pp. 427-439
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the New Phytologist Trust
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2433067
Page Count: 13
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Interrelationships between Aspects of Nitrogen Metabolism and Solute Accumulation and the Distribution of Subtropical Woody Plants in Southeast Africa
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Abstract

Little is known of the mechanisms governing nitrogen metabolism and stress tolerance in woody plants of subtropical southeast African savannas, although many of the more widely occurring genera, particularly Acacia and Combretum species, include valuable multi-purpose trees. Basal nitrate reductase activities in vigorous leaves from 59 species and five savanna areas were used as a measure of nitrate availability. Consistently low activities were found in many of the legumes and in members of the Combretaceae. When shoots from 35 of these same species were provided with supplementary nitrate solution, increased reductase activity was recorded in a number of taxa, including non-nodulating legumes belonging to the Caesalpinioideae. Nodulating legumes did not behave in the same way. Either proline or quaternary ammonium compounds, examples of stress metabolites, accumulated in the shoots of a range of taxa belonging to a number of families. The highest concentrations occurred in shoots collected from the driest areas. Amounts of tannin were high in some species but showed no consistent pattern.

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