Do plants utilize nitrites? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-04-2011, 06:05 AM Thread Starter
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Do plants utilize nitrites?

I have no clue where I got this idea from, but I'm under the impression that plants vastly prefer ammonia, will have to expend more energy using nitrates, but are unable to use nitrites. Is this true? Or perhaps nitrites the least efficiently utilized nitrogen compound?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-06-2011, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takadi View Post
I have no clue where I got this idea from, but I'm under the impression that plants vastly prefer ammonia, will have to expend more energy using nitrates, but are unable to use nitrites. Is this true? Or perhaps nitrites the least efficiently utilized nitrogen compound?
Walstad covered this in Ecology of the Planted Aquarium. According to her, most plants prefer to uptake nitrogen in the form of NH4 or NO2 instead of NO3.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-06-2011, 07:47 PM
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NO2 are rapidly converted in NH4 and then to glutamate. NO2 is quite toxic.
To plants, fish and shrimp etc.

Small amounts might be taken up by plants, but does not last long.

It would be hard to track as a hobbyist.

Since the end and start products are typically NH4 and NO3, few bother with the intermediate step. Bacterial conversion is the only reason you'd have much NO2.

Still, you can see a significant NO2 spike if you add enough NH4(eg ADA AS cycling in a new ADA tank) and the NO2 does not go away(eg, the plants are not taking it up) and then to NO3 which does decline.




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-06-2011, 09:52 PM
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Plants prefer ammonium over nitrates because of the energy required to carry out nitrate reduction - converting nitrates to ammonium.

For plants to use nitrite, they need a certain enzyme. Therefore, they prefer ammonium over nitrite.

See "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" for detail.
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