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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 45 No. 3, p. 879-882
     
    Received: Mar 16, 2004


    * Corresponding author(s): rmc@iastate.edu
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doi:10.2135/cropsci2004.0170

ROOT SEGREGATION OF C3 AND C4 SPECIES USING CARBON ISOTOPE COMPOSITION

  1. Krisztina Elekia,
  2. Richard M. Cruse *a and
  3. Kenneth A. Albrechtb
  1. a 3212 Agronomy Hall, Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA 50011-1010
    b Dep. of Agronomy, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706

Abstract

Partitioning roots for studying cropping systems containing more than one species is important since root growth interaction could influence system performance. The study objective was to test a method for segregating plant species roots from soil samples taken in a mixed stand of corn (Zea mays L.), a C4, and kura clover (Trifolium ambiguum M. Bieb.), a C3 plant. Soil cores containing both corn and kura clover roots were obtained at three distances from the corn row and at two depths in a Rozetta silt loam soil (moderately well drained, fine-silty, mixed, superactive, mesic Typic Hapludalf). Root composition of these C4 and C3 species was based on 13C/12C ratios expressed as δ13C. A significant linear relationship (r 2 = 0.99) was found between the δ13C and the percentage of corn roots in samples containing known ratios of corn and kura clover roots. This relationship was used to determine corn and kura clover root percentages in field samples. Ratios of 13C/12C effectively segregated corn and kura clover root materials obtained from soil samples and seem to be a powerful tool for partitioning roots of C3 and C4 plants in similar studies.

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