Nitrate and Ammonium Uptake in Vaccinium Species Differing in Tolerance to High Soil pH

in HortScience
Authors:
Kevin R. Kosola*Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, Horticulture, Madison, WI 53706

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and
Rebecca L. DarnellUniv. of Florida, Horticultural Sciences, Gainesville, FL 32611

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Cultivated Vaccinium species (e.g. highbush blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum, or cranberry, V. macrocarpon) commonly require acidic soil (pH 4.5 to 5.5) for optimum growth. Under these conditions, ammonium (NH4+) is the dominant form of inorganic N. In contrast, V. arboreum, the sparkleberry can tolerate higher-pH mineral soils, where nitrate (NO3-) is typically the predominant inorganic N form. This tolerance may be related to increased ability to acquire and utilize NO3—N. Measurements of 15NO3- and 15NH4+ influx kinetics in excised roots of V. arboreum, V. corymbosum, and V. macrocarpon did not support this hypothesis. NO3- influx kinetics measured from 10 micromolar to 200 micromolar NO3- were similar among all three species. NO3- influx was consistently lower than NH4+ influx at all concentrations for all three species.

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