Seasonal changes in nitrogen availability, and root and microbial uptake of (15)N(13)C(9)-phenylalanine and (15)N-ammonium in situ at a temperate heath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In the plant biosynthesis of secondary compounds, phenylalanine is a precursor of condensed tannins. Tannins are deposited into the soil in plant root exudates and dead plant material and have been suggested to precipitate some soil nutrients and hence reduce nutrient availability for plants. Free amino acid, inorganic and microbial N concentration during the growing season was investigated in an ecosystem with a natural tannin chemosphere. The influence of tannins on the uptake of nitrogen in plants and microbes was followed by injecting tannic acid (TA), ammonium-(15)N and phenylalanine-(15)N/(13)C(9). Plants preferred ammonium over phenylalanine, while microbes had no preference. Soil microbes had a 77% uptake of intact phenylalanine. Phenylalanine was acquired intact by both grasses and Calluna, with 63% and 38% uptake of intact phenylalanine in grass fine roots and Calluna roots, respectively. Inorganic N and amino acid concentrations were lowest in the period with highest plant activity and grass root biomass but were unaffected by TA addition. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • Louise C. Andresen
  • Anders Michelsen
  • Sven Jonasson
  • Lena Ström
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physical Geography


  • Amino acid, (13)C, Calluna vulgaris, Deschampsia flexuosa, DON, Heathland, (15)N, Tannic acid
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-101
JournalApplied Soil Ecology
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch