Letter | Published:

Cation-anion Ratios of Plants

Naturevolume 207page999 (1965) | Download Citation



DIJKSHOORN1 has recently summarized the results of many analyses for the total equivalents of metals (potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium) and non-metals (nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur, chlorine) in Lolium perenne, and has calculated the balance of acidity within the plant following on the higher intake of non-metals as anions. From the content (in equiv./kg) of metals as 1.8 and non-metals as 3.2 he concludes that internal acidity must have risen by 1.4, but that this is more than offset by the reduction of nitrate and sulphate, both of which consume acid. If the reduction of nitrate is written as HNO3 + 8H → 3H2O + NH3, one obtains a dis appearance of 1 or 2 protons per nitrogen reduced, according to whether one treats NH3 as a neutral molecule (as Dijkshoorn does) or as an alkali.

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  1. 1

    Dijkshoorn, W., Nature, 194, 165 (1962).

  2. 2

    Coïc, Y., Lesaint, C., and Le Roux, F., Ann. Physiol. Vég., 3, 141 (1961).

  3. 3

    Bear, F. E., Agron. J., 42, 176 (1950).

  4. 4

    Cunningham, R. K., Nature, 196, 1230 (1962).

  5. 5

    Williams, D. E., and Vlamis, J., Plant Physiol., 37, 198 (1962).

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  1. Department of Agricultural Chemistry, University of Melbourne, Victoria

    • G. W. LEEPER


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