Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology

Isotopic Fractionation During Reduction of Nitrate and Nitrite by Extracts of Spinach Leaves

SF Ledgard, KC Woo and FJ Bergersen

Australian Journal of Plant Physiology 12(6) 631 - 640
Published: 1985


The isotopic fractionations of nitrogen during the reduction of NO3- and NO2- in a cytosolic fraction and in a chloroplast preparation from spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) leaves were determined. The reduction of NO3- to NH3 was studied using a reconstituted system containing cytosolic extract and intact chloroplasts, while a chloroplast system was used for NO2- reduction. In the reconstituted systems the ratio of nitrate reductase activity to nitrite reductase activity had a large effect on the relative amounts of NO2- and NH3 formed. Ammonia predominated when the nitrate reductase to nitrite reductase activity ratio was 1 : 5 and this ratio was used in the isotopic fractionation studies. Significant isotopic fractionation of N was observed in the reconstituted system but not in the chloroplast system. This indicates that the observed isotopic fractionation was associated with the reduction of NO3- to NO2- by nitrate reductase. The isotopic fractionation (i.e. δ15Nproduct - δ15Nsubstrate) for this reaction was - 15‰.

© CSIRO 1985

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