Experimental evidence for diel δ15N-patterns in different tissues, xylem and phloem saps of castor bean (Ricinus communis L.)

A D Peuke, A Gessler, G Tcherkez
Plant, Cell & Environment 2013, 36 (12): 2219-28
Nitrogen isotope signatures in plants might give insights in the metabolism and allocation of nitrogen. To obtain a deeper understanding of the modifications of the nitrogen isotope signatures, we determined δ(15)N in transport saps and in different fractions of leaves, axes and roots during a diel course along the plant axis. The most significant diel variations were observed in xylem and phloem saps where δ(15)N was significantly higher during the day compared with during the night. However in xylem saps, this was observed only in the canopy, but not at the hypocotyl positions. In the canopy, δ(15)N was correlated fairly well between phloem and xylem saps. These variations in δ(15)N in transport saps can be attributed to nitrate reduction in leaves during the photoperiod as well as to (15)N-enriched glutamine acting as transport form of N. δ(15)N of the water soluble fraction of roots and leaves partially affected δ(15)N of phloem and xylems saps. δ(15)N patterns are likely the result of a complex set of interactions and N-fluxes between plant organs. Furthermore, the natural nitrogen isotope abundance in plant tissue is not constant during the diel course - a fact that needs to be taken into account when sampling for isotopic studies.

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