J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2007, Vol. 49 ›› Issue (3): -.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2007.00387.x

• New Technology •    

Theoretical Proof and Empirical Confirmation of a Continuous Labeling Method Using Naturally 13C-Depleted Carbon Dioxide

Weixin Cheng and Feike A. Dijkstra   

Abstract: Continuous isotope labeling and tracing is often needed to study the transformation, movement, and allocation of carbon in plant-soil systems. However, existing labeling methods have numerous limitations. The present study introduces a new continuous labeling method using naturally 13C-depleted CO2. We theoretically proved that a stable level of 13C-CO2 abundance in a labeling chamber can be maintained by controlling the rate of CO2-free air injection and the rate of ambient airflow with coupling of automatic control of CO2 concentration using a CO2 analyzer. The theoretical results were tested and confirmed in a 54 day experiment in a plant growth chamber. This new continuous labeling method avoids the use of radioactive 14C or expensive 13C-enriched CO2 required by existing methods and therefore eliminates issues of radiation safety or unaffordable isotope cost, as well as creating new opportunities for short- or long-term labeling experiments under a controlled environment.

Key words: carbon flux, CO2, isotope, rhizosphere, tracers.

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