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  • Author or Editor: Bernard A. L. Nicoulaud x
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Bernard A. L. Nicoulaud and Arnold J. Bloom

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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Bernard A. L. Nicoulaud and Arnold J. Bloom

Concentrations of up to 1.0 μm NiCl2 in a nutrient solution improved growth of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. `T-5') seedlings that received foliar urea as their sole nitrogen source. Nickel in the nutrient solution decreased the amount of urea present in the shoots and increased the amount in the roots, although it had no significant effect upon leaf urease activity. These results indicate that a) the presence of nickel in the nutrient solution improves growth of plants receiving foliar urea and b) the effect of nickel was related more to increased urea translocation from shoot to root than to enhanced leaf urease activity.

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Bernard A. L. Nicoulaud and Arnold J. Bloom

In short-term experiments (10 days), urea applied foliarly as the sole N source promoted growth of `T-5' tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) seedlings. The optimum urea concentration in the spray solution was 0.2% (w/w), and the best application frequency was once a day. Higher urea concentrations suppressed growth, producing severe leaf damage. The growth observed with foliar urea was less than that observed when inorganic N was supplied to the nutrient solution. Tomato seedlings absorbed 75% of the foliar applied urea within 12 hours and 99% within 24 hours after application. Urea concentrations in the plant tissues increased rapidly after foliar application. The maximum concentration was obtained in shoots at 12 hours and in roots at 24 hours after application. After that, concentration in the tissue declined to its original value within 48 hours. Tissue ammonium concentrations also increased after foliar application of urea. Shoot and root ammonium concentrations reached a maximum after 12 hours and stayed constant for the remainder of the 48-hour observation period. In the long-term experiment (5 weeks), the growth obtained with daily foliar applications of urea as the sole N source was only 10% of that when mineral N was available in the nutrient solution. Ammonium concentrations in the tissues of urea-treated plants were higher than those of plants treated with mineral N in the nutrient solution. Although urea concentrations were initially higher in plants treated with mineral N, after 2 weeks urea concentrations declined in these plants and increased in the shoots of plants receiving foliar applications of urea. These results indicate 1) that urea applied foliarly can supply at least part of the N required to sustain growth; 2) that urea is absorbed and assimilated fast enough to alleviate N deprivation; and 3) that failure to promote rapid growth with foliar urea is probably due to phytotoxicity and not to N deprivation.