Nitrogen use efficiency. 1. Uptake of nitrogen from the soil


P.J. Lea, Biological Sciences, University of Lancaster, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK.


The nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) of crop plants can be expressed very simply as the yield of nitrogen per unit of available nitrogen in the soil. This NUE can be divided into two processes: uptake efficiency, the ability of the plant to remove N from the soil normally present as nitrate or ammonium ions, and the utilisation efficiency, the ability of the plant to transfer the N to the grain, predominantly present as protein. In this article, we have highlighted the latest developments in the isolation and characterisation of the genes involved in the uptake of nitrogen from the soil.