Total nitrogen and free amino acids in Morus alba stems from autumn through spring



During leaf senescence and abscission, total nitrogen in leaves of mulberry (Morus alba L. ev. Shin-ichinose) declined substantially whereas total nitrogen in buds, bark and stem wood increased markedly, suggesting translocation of nitrogen from senescent leaves in the autumn. After leaf abscission the winter buds and stems remained almost unchanged with respect to fresh and dry weight and total nitrogen until bud break in spring. In burst buds these parameters then increased drastically during the new growth while they decreased markedly in stems. Free arginine in the stem bark accumulated in parallel with the accumulation of total nitrogen in buds and stems in the autumn. Accumulation of proline in the wood, bark and buds also started in October but continued even after leaf-fall, increasing until mid-January (wood), mid-February (bark) and the new growth (buds). Prior to and in the early stage of bud break, proline in bark and wood decreased significantly and arginine in stem bark decreased slightly. Simultaneously, proline and arginine in the dormancy-releasing buds and asparagine, aspartic acid and glutamic acid in the buds and stems increased appreciably, suggesting that this increase in free amino acids was mainly derived from free amino acids (proline and arginine) stored in stems. The resulting marked decrease in total nitrogen and the drastic increase in asparagine in the stems and sprouting buds/new shoots were primarily due to a breakdown of protein stored in stems.