Environmental science


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0 Q&A 2497 Views Oct 5, 2021

Dark respiration refers to experimental measures of leaf respiration in the absence of light, done to distinguish it from the photorespiration that occurs during photosynthesis. Dark aerobic respiration reactions occur solely in the mitochondria and convert glucose molecules from cytoplasmatic glycolysis and oxygen into carbon dioxide and water, with the generation of ATP molecules. Previous methods typically use oxygen sensors to measure oxygen depletion or complicated and expensive photosynthesis instruments to measure CO2 accumulation. Here, we provide a detailed, step-by-step approach to measure dark respiration in plants by recording CO2 fluxes of Arabidopsis shoot and root tissues. Briefly, plants are dark acclimated for 1 hour, leaves and roots are excised and placed separately in airtight chambers, and CO2 accumulation is measured over time with standard infrared gas analyzers. The time-series data is processed with R scripts to produce dark respiration rates, which can be standardized by fresh or dry tissue mass. The current method requires inexpensive infrared gas analyzers, off-the-shelf parts for chambers, and publicly available data analysis scripts.

0 Q&A 5787 Views May 5, 2019
One of the most remarkable metabolic features of plant roots is their ability to secrete a wide range of compounds into the rhizosphere, defined as the volume of soil around living roots. Around 5%-21% of total photosynthetically fixed carbon is transferred into the rhizosphere through root exudates. Until recently, studies on the quantity and quality of root exudates were conducted mostly under axenic or monoxenic in vitro conditions. Today, in situ assays are required to provide a better understanding of root exudates dynamics and role in plant-microbe interactions. By incubating plants with 13CO2 in situ for one week and quantifying 13C enrichment from the root-adhering soil using mass spectrometry, we were able to determine root exudate levels. Indeed, labeled substrate 13CO2 is converted into organic carbon via plant photosynthesis and transferred into the soil through root exudation. We assume that all 13C increases above natural abundance are mainly derived from exudates produced by 13C-labeled plants.

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