A researcher at the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country has studied the properties produced due to feeding with ammonium despite generating less growth than the nitrate
Plants need nitrogen to grow, and intensive agriculture requires the input of nitrogen compounds. However, classical, nitrate-based fertilization is responsible for considerable environmental problems, such as the contamination of surface and underground water due to nitrate leaching, and the emission of greenhouse gases, owing to the effect of the micro-organisms in the soil that use the nitrate and produce nitrous oxide, a significant greenhouse gas.
Ammonium nutrition could increase the concentration of anti-oxidants and anticarcinogens in broccoli.
Credit: Nate Steiner
In order to alleviate these problems, "an attempt is being made to encourage a different type of fertilizer treatment, and one of them is the use of ammonia together with nitrification inhibitors. The inhibitors cause this ammonia to be in the soil for longer and this helps to mitigate nitrate leaching and also nitrous oxide emissions," explained Daniel Marino, researcher in the UPV/EHU's NUMAPS research group, which has conducted this study in collaboration with Dr Pedro Aparicio-Tejo of the UPN/NUP-Public University of Navarre. Yet this source of nitrogen has a special feature: "it can be toxic for plants and lead to reduced growth than when nitrate is used. In our group we are studying the tolerance and sensitivity of different plants to this source of nitrogen". Seeking to go further into this subject, they went on to study the proteome of a model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana. "Without focussing on any protein in particular, we decided to see what differences were displayed by this plant within the synthesised proteins as a whole when ammonium or nitric fertilizers are applied," said Daniel Marino.
The same results in edible plants
When studying the type and quantity of proteins accumulated in the plants with each type of nutrition, "what seemed most interesting to us is that there were some proteins related to the metabolism of glucosinolates which accumulate in a greater quantity in plants receiving an ammonium input," stressed the researcher. In general, glucosinolates have two properties: they are natural insecticides and one of them in particular, glucoraphanin, has anticarcinogenic properties.
Given that the experiments had been conducted using the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, a model plant widely used in research but of no commercial interest, they decided to repeat the experiment, "but this time with broccoli plants. Although we did not manage to study the glucosinolate content in the part of the broccoli of greatest food interest, which is the flower, we saw that the leaves of the young plants accumulated a greater quantity of glucoraphanin when we added the source of nitrogen by means of ammonium than when we did so using nitrate," explained Marino.
In view of these results, the research group is continuing to work on this aspect and they have even been in contact with several companies that could be interested in them. So in order to pursue their possible commercial application "we carried out field experiments where the system is much more complex, due, among other things, to the micro-organisms in the soil that also use ammonium as a source of nitrogen. So in the field experiments we will also be interested in analysing the glucosinolate content in the broccoli inflorescence, the part of the plant that is consumed most. On the other hand, from a more fundamental point of view, we are also interested in knowing the effect that the glucosinolates could have on the ammonium tolerance of the plant itself," he explained.
The biologist Daniel Marino-Bilbao, an Ikerbasque Research Fellow at the UPV/EHU, is a member of the research group NUMAPS (Nutrition Management in Plant and Soil), led by Carmen González-Murua, of the department of Plant Biology and Ecology in the UPV/EHU's Faculty of Science and Technology.
Marino D, Ariz I, Lasa B, Santamaría E, Fernández-Irigoyen J, González-Murua C, Aparicio-Tejo P (2016) Quantitative proteomics reveals the importance of nitrogen source to control glucosinolate metabolism in Arabidopsis thaliana and Brassica oleracea. Journal of Experimental Botany 67: 3313-3323.
Matxalen Sotillo | EurekAlert!
Advance warning system via cell phone app: Avoiding extreme weather damage in agriculture
12.07.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V.
Fishy chemicals in farmed salmon
11.07.2018 | University of Pittsburgh
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
13.07.2018 | Event News
13.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
13.07.2018 | Life Sciences