Air Containing Nitrogen-15 Ammonia: Foliar Absorption by Corn Seedlings

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Science  18 Feb 1972:
Vol. 175, Issue 4023, pp. 759-761
DOI: 10.1126/science.175.4023.759


Thirty-day-old corn seedlings, grown in the greenhouse with different concentrations of supplemental nitrate nitrogen, were moved to a constant-temperature growth chamber and sealed in a 560-liter tent made of polyvinyl chloride. The plants were exposed to air containing ammonia labeled with nitrogen-15 (1, 10, and 20 parts per million) for 24 hours and then harvested. The nitrogen-15 content of the tops and roots showed that at 1 part per million 43 percent of the ammonia was absorbed, whereas at 10 and 20 parts per million, 30 percent of the ammonia was absorbed. The results demonstrate that growing plants may be a natural sink for atmospheric ammonia.