We examined root ammonium absorption by tomato seedlings (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. `T-5') after first exposure of the roots to ammonium. Some plants received a nutrient medium containing nitrate as the sole N source. In a second treatment, the leaves were sprayed daily with a urea solution, while the roots were in N-free medium. The last two treatments were initially grown in medium that contained ammonium nitrate, but then either were shifted to a N-free medium for 10 days or had their roots excised and were rerooted in N-free medium for 21 days. Root ammonium absorption remained constant after first exposure to ammonium for the plants exposed to nitrate alone, whereas root ammonium absorption declined with time for the other three treatments. These results indicate that for tomato a) ammonium in the rhizosphere does not induce root ammonium absorption and b) some product of ammonium metabolism represses root ammonium absorption.
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