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Trends Plant Sci. 2011 Sep;16(9):499-506. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2011.05.010. Epub 2011 Jun 24.

(12)C/(13)C fractionations in plant primary metabolism.

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  • 1Institut de Biologie des Plantes, CNRS UMR 8618, Université Paris-Sud 11, 91405 Orsay cedex, France.


Natural (13)C abundance is now an unavoidable tool to study ecosystem and plant carbon economies. A growing number of studies take advantage of isotopic fractionation between carbon pools or (13)C abundance in respiratory CO(2) to examine the carbon source of respiration, plant biomass production or organic matter sequestration in soils. (12)C/(13)C isotope effects associated with plant metabolism are thus essential to understand natural isotopic signals. However, isotope effects of enzymes do not influence metabolites separately, but combine to yield a (12)C/(13)C isotopologue redistribution orchestrated by metabolic flux patterns. In this review, we summarise key metabolic isotope effects and integrate them into the corpus of plant primary carbon metabolism.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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