Effect of Nitrogen Nutritional Stress on some Mineral Nutrients and Photosynthetic Apparatus of Zea mays L. and Vigna unguiculata L.
The study investigated the responses of maize (Zea mays L.) and cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp.) seedlings metabolic activities and photosynthetic apparatus to nitrogen nutritional stress. Germination of seeds was done using treated sand in sixty plastic pots and the seedlings were divided into four nutrient regimes. A group of the seedlings was nutrient stressed by administering 200 ml of complete nutrient solution minus nitrogen (-N) while the other groups were fed with five times (X5N) and ten times (X10N) the optimal concentration of nitrogen and the last regime was fed with full nutrient solution (FN). The photosynthetic parameters studied included chlorophylls â€˜aâ€™ and â€˜bâ€™ respectively; carotenes and xanthophyll while the mineral elements investigated include potassium, calcium and magnesium. The result of the growth analysis showed that nitrogen deficiency promotes an increase in the content of abscisic acid (ABA), causing stomatal closure and a reduction in photosynthesis. This explains the higher rate of leaf abscission in -N plants. A comparison of calcium ion and magnesium ion concentrations in both optimal and stressed conditions reveals that the two ions show antagonism in uptake. There is a correlation between nitrogen and magnesium accumulation as magnesium ion plays a vital role in chlorophyll biosynthesis, protein synthesis and photosynthesis. The pattern of accumulation of photosynthetic apparatus in both maize and cowpea follow a similar pattern. Chlorophyll a dictated the growth pattern of other photosynthetic apparatus in both Zea mays and Vigna unguiculata.
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