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Grain Protein Accumulation and the Relationship between Leaf Nitrate Reductase and Protease Activities during Grain Development in Maize (Zea mays L.): I. VARIATION BETWEEN GENOTYPES 1

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Four maize hybrids, two with high and two with low levels of postanthesis nitrate reductase activity were grown under field conditions. The characteristic enzyme patterns had been established in previous work. Nitrate reductase and proteases were measured in three representative leaves (ear leaf, fourth leaf above and fourth leaf below the ear) at intervals throughout the period of grain development. Concurrent with enzyme sampling, other plants were harvested and subdivided into top, middle and lower leaves, husks, stalks, and ear. Dry weights, nitrate, and reduced N were determined on all plant parts for each sampling. These data established the rate of N accumulation by the grain and depletion from the vegetative material and provide some insight into the relation between newly reduced and remobilized N and accumulation of grain N. Other plants were harvested at maturity for yield and harvest indices for dry weight and N.

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