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Nitrogen-Uptake of Plants

Nature volume 131, pages 534535 (15 April 1933) | Download Citation



PROGRESS, due to the abandonment of traditional beliefs, is occurring to-day in agriculture as well as in other branches of applied science. At one time it was generally held that ammoniacal nitrogen had first to be converted into nitric nitrogen before it could be taken up by plants, but we now know of many plants that take up ammoniacal nitrogen directly; and at the present time doubt is being cast on a doctrine which has persisted since the days of Liebig and Boussingault, namely, that organic nitrogen has first to be ‘mineralised’ before it becomes available as food for plants. The work done by Prof. A. I. Virtanen and his collaborators at Helsingfors during the past few years has provided important evidence that at least some plants directly and readily assimilate organic nitrogenous compounds, and a useful summary of this work was given recently by Prof. Virtanen in lectures delivered to the Netherlands Agricultural Society at Wageriingen and to the Chemical Society of Zurich.

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