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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 76 No. 1, p. 35-40
    Received: Aug 30, 1982

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Sulfate Uptake Kinetics of Three Annual Range Species1

  1. Clinton C. Shock and
  2. William A. Williams2



The sulfate uptake rates of roots of three annual forages were found to follow different Michaelis-Menten kinetics. Depletion of added sulfate from the nutrient medium by intact plants gave more reproduceable results than excised roots. Subclover (Trifolium subterraneum L.) showed the lowest affinity for sulfate but a high maximal rate of sulfate uptake. Soft chess (Bromus mollis L.) showed bimodal behavior either with a very high affinity and a low maximal uptake or low affinity with high maximal uptake, suggesting that two uptake mechanisms operate in this species. Sulfate uptake rates decreased with plant age for all three species. The decrease was greatest with filaree [Erodium botrys (Cav.) Bertol.] and least with soft chess. A root temperature of 4°C reduced sulfate uptake by all species implying that sulfate uptake depends on active metabolism. When returned to 20°C, sulfate uptake rates for subclover and filaree recovered immediately, but soft chess recovered only partially. Reduced O2 from aeration with N2 gas decreased sulfate uptake rates for subclover and soft chess but not for filaree. Subclover recovered quickly to the uptake rates observed before treatment, but soft chess did not. Selenate and molybdate interfered with sulfate uptake. Molybdate at 20 µM had rapid deleterious effects on the root systems of all species. Selenate at the 20 µM concentration showed no effect on soft chess, but sulfate uptake of filaree and subclover was reduced initially and plant death occurred within 24 h. The ecological significance of sulfate uptake kinetics is discussed with respect to botanical composition changes that occur with increased S supplies on deficient rangelands.

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