Efficiency of protein as a nitrogen source for wheat and morphological changes in roots exposed to high protein concentrations.

Rasmussen, J.B., Gilroyed, B.H., Reuter, T.R., Badea, A., Eudes, F., Graf, R.J., Laroche, A., Kav, N.N.V., and McAllister, T.A. (2014). "Efficiency of protein as a nitrogen source for wheat and morphological changes in roots exposed to high protein concentrations.", Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 94(4), pp. 603-613. doi : 10.4141/cjps2013-187  Access to full text

Abstract

Proteins of animal origin can enter the environment through application of agricultural by-products to arable or pastured land. In this study, wheat (Triticum aestivum cv. AC Andrew) was exposed to treatments with nitrogen (N) supplied as animal protein (bovine serum albumin; BSA), inorganic N or a combination of these sources at different iso-nitrogenous concentrations. Plant growth was assessed by monitoring both wet and dry mass of shoots and data showed that protein treatments did not differ (P>0.05) from controls lacking N. Analysis of N also showed that plants supplied with protein N displayed lower N (1.2–2.4%) concentration as compared with those supplied with inorganic N (up to 12.4%) with N remaining <2.4% even when the supply of protein was increased. Root morphology was altered in plants exposed to protein N concentrations >71 mM, with the development of knob-like outgrowths with unknown function or significance. This study provides evidence that wheat plantlets grown under sterile conditions are unable to utilize BSA as efficiently as NH4NO3 as a N source, but their roots exhibit a morphological response to protein.

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