We present the first <i>in vivo</i> <sup>31</sup>P NMR study describing the effect of the anesthetic dibucaine on the levels of phosphorus-containing metabolites (G-6-P, P<sub>i</sub>, NTP, NADP, and UDPG) in maize root tissue which was maintained in an aerobic state through modern perfusion techniques. The effects of dibucaine are demonstrated as a function of Ca<sup>2+</sup> concentration at several pH values. Our results indicate that dibucaine alters the <sup>31</sup>P spectra and the membrane-lipid composition of the roots upon introduction into the perfusate medium. Ca<sup>2+</sup> inhibits the effects of the dibucaine as monitored by suppression of the <sup>31</sup>P spectral changes induced by the anesthetic alone. Desaturase enzymatic inhibition has also been shown to occur in the presence of the anesthetic (in the absence of Ca<sup>2+</sup>), resulting in increased relative saturation of the fatty acids comprising the root tissue, with a marked decrease in linoleate (18:2) balanced by proportional increases in the more saturated fatty acid species. These compositional changes have been evaluated with respect to the real-time metabolic results as observed throughout the <sup>31</sup>P NMR spectral studies.

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