Using amino-nitrogen pools and fluxes to identify contributions of understory Acacia spp. to overstory Eucalyptus regnans and stand nitrogen uptake in temperate Australia
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- • Amino acid concentration and composition in xylem and phloem sap and in plant tissues are good markers of plant performance and general plant nitrogen (N)-supply. Here, we tested if amino acid pools in Eucalyptus regnans, growing in southeastern Australia were increased by understory acacias in 70-yr-old stands, and if xylem N-transport of temperate Acacia spp. differs from their tropical counterparts.
- • We analysed amino-N concentrations and composition in foliage, xylem and phloem. In a novel approach we coupled amino-N concentrations of xylem with long-term sap flow measurements to calculate total stand N-transport.
- • Xylem N-transport of E. regnans is largely based on amino compounds of the glutamate group (more than 90%). By contrast, Acacia spp. transport mainly aspartate group amino acids in xylem (up to 80%). Amino compound diversity and concentration in tissues and xylem and phloem sap were universally greater in acacias compared to eucalypts. Acacias investigated here can be classified as ‘amide transporters’.
- • We conclude that N-status and growth potential of aging E. regnans forest is not enhanced by a contribution of N from understory acacias, and that xylem N-transport in temperate Acacia spp. differs from acacias located in the tropics.