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What is the role of sporadic phloem sap nitrate?
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  • Jing Cui,
  • Andreas D. Peuke,
  • Anis Limami,
  • Guillaume Tcherkez
Jing Cui

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Andreas D. Peuke
ADP International Plant Science Consulting
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Anis Limami
University of Angers, (IRHS 1345) Institute of Research of Horticulture and Seeds
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Guillaume Tcherkez
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Since the first description of phloem sap composition nearly 60 years ago, it is generally assumed that phloem sap does not contain nitrate and that there is little or no backflow of nitrate from shoots to roots. While it is true that nitrate can occasionally be absent from phloem sap, there is now substantial evidence that phloem can carry nitrate and furthermore, transporters involved in nitrate redistribution to shoot sink organs and roots have been found. This raises the question of why nitrate may or may not be present in phloem sap, why its concentration is generally kept low, and whether plant shoot-root nutrient cycling also involves nitrate. We propose here that phloem sap nitrate is not only an essential component of plant nutritional signaling but also contributes to physical properties of phloem sap and as such, its concentration is controlled to ensure proper coordination of plant development and nutrient transport.