There is increasing interest in the use of amino acid-based biostimulant products due to their reported abilities to improve a number of quality characteristics in a variety of specialty crops. However, when it comes to the foliar application of amino acids to turfgrass, there are still many basic questions about their uptake forms and incorporation into cellular metabolism. In this study, we shed light on the fate of amino acids exogenously applied to turfgrass foliage through a series of time-course, isotopic-labeling studies in creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera
L.) leaves. Using both 15
N-labeled and 15
C double-labeled L-glutamate applied exogenously to creeping bentgrass foliage, we measured the uptake of glutamate and its integration into γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and L-proline, two amino acids with known roles in plant stress adaptation. Our results demonstrate that glutamate is rapidly absorbed into creeping bentgrass foliage and that it is utilized to produce GABA and proline. Based on the labeling patterns observed in the endogenous pools of glutamate/glutamine, GABA, and the proline from applied glutamate-[13
], we can further conclude that glutamate is predominantly taken up intact and that mineralization into other forms of nitrogen is a minor fate. Taken together, the collective findings of this study provide evidence that amino acids exogenously applied to turfgrass foliage can be rapidly absorbed, and serve as stable sources of precursor molecules to be integrated into the metabolism of the plant.
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