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  • Author or Editor: Oscar A. Moreno-Valenzuela x
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Amino acids, a major fraction of the low-molecular-weight organic nitrogen in soil, act as signaling molecules that indicate the presence of nutrient-rich patches to the roots. To characterize the effects of amino acids on root growth, we used seedlings of habanero pepper (Capsicum chinense), one of the most widely cultivated annual spice crops in the world. We tested the effect of L-glutamate, L-aspartate, and glycine on the primary root of seedlings grown aseptically under different conditions of pH and light. L-glutamate and L-aspartate did not inhibit the root growth of habanero pepper. In contrast, glycine inhibited the growth of roots, stimulated root hair growth, and induced a significant accumulation of starch grains in the root apex. The use of aminoethoxyvinylglycine, an inhibitor of ethylene biosynthesis, and the evaluation of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid oxidase expression provided evidence of a role for ethylene in the root responses to glycine. We suggest that these changes in the root apex in response to exogenous glycine could be an important adaptive response that allows plants to efficiently access the fluctuating availability of nutrients in the soil.

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