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Horticultura Brasileira

versão impressa ISSN 0102-0536versão On-line ISSN 1806-9991


COMETTI, Nilton Nélio et al. Nitrogen compounds and soluble sugars in tissues of organic, hydroponic, and conventional lettuce. Hortic. Bras. [online]. 2004, vol.22, n.4, pp.748-753. ISSN 0102-0536.

The distribution of some physiologic metabolites was evaluated in lettuce plants. Crest leaf lettuce plants were grown in the organic, hydroponic, and conventional system. Plants from each systems were split in eight parts (old, medium, and new leaf limbos, old, medium, and new main leaf veins, stem and root). Analyses of nitrate, amino-N, soluble sugars, and dry mass partition were accomplished throughout the parts. In general, considering the aerial part and roots, the contents resemble literature reports. However, when the analyses are accomplished in the different plant parts that compose the shoot, there are significant differences among parts in all analyzed metabolites. This allows a better choice of which part of the plant to analyze, depending on what one wants to observe. During physiologic studies of nitrogen metabolism, the separation of parts may be fundamental in the interpretation of the results. Nitrate, amino-N and free sugars showed great differences between shoot parts and stem. Stems appear to accumulate their maximum contents. The hydroponic lettuce showed nitrate contents greater than any other lettuces, reaching a maximum of 1,000 mg kg-1 of fresh mass in stems. Therefore, this amount is well below the maximum allowed by the European legislation for lettuce nitrate content. The results suggest that the lettuce stem works as the main accumulator of free nitrogen compounds, specially nitrate and amino-N, besides soluble sugars. Further studies are necessary to confirm if lettuce stems would have buffer function in case of large amounts of nitrogen uptake.

Palavras-chave : Lactuca sativa; compartment; nitrate; plant nutrient.

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