Ebbs, Stephen , Kosma, Dylan , Piccinin, Robert , Woodrow, Ian E .
Cyanide at sub-toxic levels is perceived as a source of nitrogen by plants.
Cyanide is generally perceived as a metabolic poison both for plants and animals. Nevertheless, ongoing studies are revealing that at the sub-toxic concentrations ore commonly encountered in the natural environment, plants transport and assimilate cyanide as an alternate source of nitrogen, even in the presence of excess ammonium and nitrate. Hydroponic studies using willow, wheat, and sorghum have all shown that exposure to cyanide (labeled with the stable isotope 15N) results in a highly significant enrichment in 15N without a corresponding increase in total plant N. This is suggestive of a substitution of the cyanogenic N atom for ammonium and nitrate as a nitrogen source. Moreover, N-deficient sorghum plants exposed to cyanide showed a significantly greater enrichment of 15N from that molecule that plants that were N replete. GC-MS analyses of willows exposed to cyanide have shown that the cyanogenic nitrogen atom is assimilated asymmetrically into amino acid pools within the plant, suggesting also a possible preferential allocation of that atom to aspects of plant metabolism. The possible importance of cyanide as a nitrogen source to plants is discussed.
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1 - Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Department of Plant Biology, 420 Life Science II, 1125 Lincoln Drive, Carbondale, IL, 62901-6509, USA
2 - Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Department of Plant Biology, 420 Life Science II, 1125 Lincoln Dr., Carbondale, IL, 62901-6509, USA
3 - University of Melbourne, School of Botany
4 - The University of Melbourne, School of Botany
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Location: Stevens 1/Hilton
Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2007
Time: 2:30 PM