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Both Free Indole-3-Acetic Acid and Photosynthetic Performance are Important Players in the Response of Medicago truncatula to Urea and Ammonium Nutrition Under Axenic Conditions

AuthorsEsteban, Raquel ; Royo, Beatriz ; Urarte Rodríguez, Estibaliz ; Zamarreño, Ángel M.; García Mina, José María; Morán, José F.
Issue Date16-Feb-2016
PublisherFrontiers Media
CitationFrontiers in Plant Science 7: 140 (2016)
AbstractWe aimed to identify the early stress response and plant performance of Medicago truncatula growing in axenic medium with ammonium or urea as the sole source of nitrogen, with respect to nitrate-based nutrition. Biomass measurements, auxin content analyses, root system architecture (RSA) response analyses, and physiological parameters were determined. Both ammonium and ureic nutrition severely affected the RSA, resulting in changes in the main elongation rate, lateral root development, and insert position from the root base. The auxin content decreased in both urea- and ammonium-treated roots; however, only the ammonium-treated plants were affected at the shoot level. The analysis of chlorophyll a fluorescence transients showed that ammonium affected photosystem II, but urea did not impair photosynthetic activity. Superoxide dismutase isoenzymes in the plastids were moderately affected by urea and ammonium in the roots. Overall, our results showed that low N doses from different sources had no remarkable effects on M. truncatula, with the exception of the differential phenotypic root response. High doses of both ammonium and urea caused great changes in plant length, auxin contents and physiological measurements. Interesting correlations were found between the shoot auxin pool and both plant length and the “performance index” parameter, which is obtained from measurements of the kinetics of chlorophyll a fluorescence. Taken together, these data demonstrate that both the indole-3-acetic acid pool and performance index are important components of the response of M. truncatula under ammonium or urea as the sole N source.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2016.00140
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