Two species of mosses in relation to nitrogen metabolism were examined. This subject is little known in this group of plant. Investigations of nitrate reductase activity in green tissues of Brachythecium rutabulum (Hedw.) Schimp. and Atrichum undulatum (Hedw.) P.Beauv. were performed. The study was conducted in two localities: heavy contaminated waste tip Skalny located in Upper Silesia, and Blonia City Park in Bielsko-Biala which place was chosen as a control area. For both species high activity of the enzyme was detected. The nitrate reductase activity varied between 99 to 9093 nmol per g dry mass per hour for B. rutabulum and 265 to 5135 nmol per g d.m. per hour of nitrite synthesized for A. undulatum respectively on Skalny waste tip. In the control area the results varied between 747 to 1077 for B. rutabulum and 171 to 518 nmol per g d.m. per hour of nitrite synthesized for A. undulatum, respectively. The differences were statistically significant only between the two species but not between habitats probably due to high dispersion and small amount of replications. The levels of nitrate and nitrite in stream water in both areas were also measured. In the Skalny waste tip there were high and reached 1.66 mg · dm-3 of nitrite and 65 mg · dm-3 of nitrate, respectively. In the control area these amounts were lower and reach zero level for nitrite and 4.5 mg · dm-3 of nitrate, respectively.
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