Role of nitrate in regulating germination of Sinapis arvensis L. (wild mustard)


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Depending on the applied concentration, nitrate can either stimulate or inhibit germination of dormant seeds of Sinapis arvensis L. (wild mustard). Seed NO 3 levels that corresponded to the maximal germination frequencies recorded, ranged from 0.3 to 4.4 nmol seed−1 for applied NO 3 concentrations between 2.5 and 20 mol m−3. Germination was significantly lower in seeds containing more than 5 nmol NO 3. Although the presence of NO 3 within the seed was required to promote germination, seed NO 3 levels were 5 to 15 times less than levels calculated from the volume of solution taken up by the seeds. Seed NO 3 levels also responded in a passive fashion to the external NO3 concentration when the seeds were incubated on filter paper or in soil. In a representative soil containing 26 mg NO 3‐N per kg dry weight and 8 to 16% water by weight, the amount of NO 3 taken up by the seeds reached inhibitory levels. Our results suggest that levels of inorganic nitrogen (NO 3, NH+ 4) in managed soils may play an important role in regulating germination of dormant S. arvensis seeds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-12
Number of pages4
JournalPlant, Cell & Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1988
Externally publishedYes

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