Protein can be taken up by damaged wheat roots and transported to the stem.

Rasmussen, J.P., Gilroyed, B.H., Reuter, T.R., Badea, A., Eudes, F., Graf, R.J., Laroche, A., Kav, N.N.V., and McAllister, T.A. (2015). "Protein can be taken up by damaged wheat roots and transported to the stem.", Journal of Plant Biology, 58(1), pp. 1-7. doi : 10.1007/s12374-014-0258-z  Access to full text


Proteins of animal origin can represent a portion of the overall nitrogen (N) pool in the soil environment and there is a possibility that plants may utilize animal proteins as a N source. Using wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) we investigated if the model protein, ovalbumin was taken up into the roots and transported within the plant. In roots, ovalbumin was associated with the epidermis when no root damage was evident, but with minor root damage, it was present in intercellular spaces throughout the cortex and at the endodermis. Ovalbumin was only found in the stem when minor damage to the root system was evident. Suspension cultures of wheat protoplasts revealed that ovalbumin was not assimilated into individual plant cells. Our results suggest that ovalbumin uptake and subsequent movement in wheat is possible only after root damage has occurred. Apoplastic movement may enable animal protein to enter plant tissues above the soil level where they could be consumed by grazers.

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