The effect of plant-root N-status on bacterial growth in the rhizosphere was studied with 5-week-old wheat plants grown in soil with low N content obtained by mixing 9:1 gravel:sandy loam. As a consequence of N limitation, significant increase in3Hthymidine (Tdr) incorporation rate occured 3 days after addition of 30 mM ammonium compared to controls without ammonium. Plants were grown with split-roots to separate the effect of soil N from effect of plant root derived organic matter-N on bacterial activity. The increase in nitrate concentration from 10 mM to 30 mM at one part of the root system led to significant increased3HT dr incorporation in the rhizosphere at the other part of root system after 4 days showing that the composition of root exudates became more favourable for bacterial growth when plants were fertilized with the higher level of nitrate.
Plant and Soil, 1994, Vol 162, Issue 1, p. 113-116