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Growth Inhibition and Metabolite Pool Levels in Plant Tissues Fed d-Glucosamine and d-Galactose

  • R. M. Roberts
  • A. Heishman
  • C. Wicklin
Publication Date
Jul 01, 1971


The growth of corn (Zea mays) roots and barley (Hordeum vulgare) coleoptiles is sensitive to the presence of external d-glucosamine and d-galactose. In order to investigate this effect, tissues were fed the radioactive monosaccharides at concentrations that ranged from those that were strongly inhibitory to those that had little influence on growth. At low concentrations, d-glucosamine is converted to uridine diphosphate-N-acetyl-d-glucosamine, phosphate esters of N-acetylglucosamine, and free N-acetylglucosamine. As the external concentrations were increased, the pool levels of each of these metabolites rose several fold; and, in corn roots, two unidentified compounds, which had not been detected previously, began to accumulate in the tissues. The major products of d-galactose metabolism were uridine diphosphate-d-galactose and d-galactose 1-phosphate at all the concentrations tested. Both these compounds showed a marked increase as the external galactose concentrations were raised to inhibitory levels. The experiments indicate that efficient pathways exist in plants for the metabolism of d-glucosamine and d-galactose. These pathways, however, do not appear to be under strict control, so that metabolites accumulate in unusually high amounts and presumably interfere competitively with normal carbohydrate metabolism.

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