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Protocols in ecological and environmental plant physiology


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 34(2)

Stable oxygen isotope composition of plant tissue: a review

Margaret M. Barbour

A Landcare Research, PO Box 40, Gerald St, Lincoln 7640, New Zealand.
Email: barbourm@landcareresearch.co.nz

B This review originates from the Outstanding Physiologist Award 2006 of the New Zealand Society of Plant Biologists received by the author
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With the development of rapid measurement techniques, stable oxygen isotope analysis of plant tissue is poised to become an important tool in plant physiological, ecological, paleoclimatic and forensic studies. Recent advances in mechanistic understanding have led to the improvement of process-based models that accurately predict variability in the oxygen isotope composition of plant organic material (δ18Op). δ18Op has been shown to reflect the isotope composition of soil water, evaporative enrichment in transpiring leaves, and isotopic exchange between oxygen atoms in organic molecules and local water in the cells in which organic molecules are formed. This review presents current theoretical models describing the influences on δ18Op, using recently published experimental work to outline strengths and weaknesses in the models. The potential and realised applications of the technique are described.

Keywords: crop yield, leaf water enrichment, palaeoclimate, Péclet effect, stomatal conductance.

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