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Nitrate reductase activity of two leafy vegetables as affected by nickel and different nitrogen forms

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The author studied the effect of different nickel concentrations (0, 0.4, 40 and 80 μM Ni) on the nitrate reductase (NR) activity of New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia expansa Murr.) and lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. cv. Justyna) plants supplied with different nitrogen forms (NO3⁻–N, NH4⁺–N, NH4NO3). A low concentration of Ni (0.4 μM) did not cause statistically significant changes of the nitrate reductase activity in lettuce plants supplied with nitrate nitrogen (NO3⁻–N) or mixed (NH4NO3) nitrogen form, but in New Zealand spinach leaves the enzyme activity decreased and increased, respectively. The introduction of 0.4 μM Ni in the medium containing ammonium ions as a sole source of nitrogen resulted in significantly increased NR activity in lettuce roots, and did not cause statistically significant changes of the enzyme activity in New Zealand spinach plants. At a high nickel level (Ni 40 or 80 μM), a significant decrease in the NR activity was observed in New Zealand spinach plants treated with nitrate or mixed nitrogen form, but it was much more marked in leaves than in roots. An exception was lack of significant changes of the enzyme activity in spinach leaves when plants were treated with 40 μM Ni and supplied with mixed nitrogen form, which resulted in the stronger reduction of the enzyme activity in roots than in leaves. The statistically significant drop in the NR activity was recorded in the aboveground parts of nickel-stressed lettuce plants supplied with NO3⁻–N or NH4NO3. At the same time, there were no statistically significant changes recorded in lettuce roots, except for the drop of the enzyme activity in the roots of NO3⁻-fed plants grown in the nutrient solution containing 80 μM Ni. An addition of high nickel doses to the nutrient solution contained ammonium nitrogen (NH4⁺–N) did not affect the NR activity in New Zealand spinach plants and caused a high increase of this enzyme in lettuce organs, especially in roots. It should be stressed that, independently of nickel dose in New Zealand spinach plants supplied with ammonium form, NR activity in roots was dramatically higher than that in leaves. Moreover, in New Zealand spinach plants treated with NH4⁺–N the enzyme activity in roots was even higher than in those supplied with NO3⁻–N.
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