Hypoxia Affects Nitrogen Uptake and Distribution in Young Poplar (Populus × canescens) Trees.

PLoS ONE. 2015;10(8):e0136579 DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0136579


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: PLoS ONE

ISSN: 1932-6203 (Online)

Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)

LCC Subject Category: Medicine | Science

Country of publisher: United States

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML, XML



Bin Liu
Heinz Rennenberg
Jürgen Kreuzwieser


Peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 24 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

The present study with young poplar trees aimed at characterizing the effect of O2 shortage in the soil on net uptake of NO3- and NH4+ and the spatial distribution of the N taken up. Moreover, we assessed biomass increment as well as N status of the trees affected by O2 deficiency. For this purpose, an experiment was conducted in which hydroponically grown young poplar trees were exposed to hypoxic and normoxic (control) conditions for 14 days. 15N-labelled NO3- and NH4+ were used to elucidate N uptake and distribution of currently absorbed N and N allocation rates in the plants. Whereas shoot biomass was not affected by soil O2 deficiency, it significantly reduced root biomass and, consequently, the root-to-shoot ratio. Uptake of NO3- but not of NH4+ by the roots of the trees was severely impaired by hypoxia. As a consequence of reduced N uptake, the N content of all poplar tissues was significantly diminished. Under normoxic control conditions, the spatial distribution of currently absorbed N and N allocation rates differed depending on the N source. Whereas NO3- derived N was mainly transported to the younger parts of the shoot, particularly to the developing and young mature leaves, N derived from NH4+ was preferentially allocated to older parts of the shoot, mainly to wood and bark. Soil O2 deficiency enhanced this differential allocation pattern. From these results we assume that NO3- was assimilated in developing tissues and preferentially used to maintain growth and ensure plant survival under hypoxia, whereas NH4+ based N was used for biosynthesis of storage proteins in bark and wood of the trees. Still, further studies are needed to understand the mechanistic basis as well as the eco-physiological advantages of such differential allocation patterns.