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Nitrogen drives plant growth to the detriment of leaf sugar and steviol glycosides metabolisms in Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni)

Sun, Yuming, Hou, Menglan, Mur, Luis A.J., Yang, Yongheng, Zhang, Ting, Xu, Xiaoyang, Huang, Suzhen, Tong, Haiying
Plant physiology and biochemistry 2019 v.141 pp. 240-249
Stevia rebaudiana, carbon, carbon nitrogen ratio, enzyme activity, fertilizer application, glycosides, hydroponics, leaves, nitrogen, nitrogen fertilizers, phenylalanine, phenylalanine ammonia-lyase, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase, plant growth, steviol, sugars, sweetness
Steviol glycosides (SGs) in Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni) leaves are important due to their high sweetness and low calorific value. The yield of SGs is dependent on fertilization regimes, but the relationship between nitrogen (N) administration and SGs synthesis is still unclear. In this study, we investigate the effects of N rates on SGs production through hydroponic and plot experiments. The SGs yield was not significantly changed by N fertilization, but leaf SGs concentrations were significantly reduced due to the “dilution effect”. Additionally, N addition decreased leaf carbon (C)/N ratio and soluble sugar concentration, accompanied with the inhibited phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase and L-phenylalanine ammonia_lyase activities. A significant positive correlation between leaf SGs concentrations, C/N ratio and soluble sugar concentration was observed. Overall, we suggest that N-driven Stevia growth negatively affects SGs concentrations. The leaf C/N ratio and soluble sugar changes indicated the occurrence of metabolic reprogramming.