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Plant Cell Environ. 2006 Aug;29(8):1571-84.

13CO2 pulse-labelling of photoassimilates reveals carbon allocation within and between tree rings.

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Wood Anatomy and Quality Laboratory, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Ibaraki, Japan.


Post-photosynthetic fractionation processes during translocation, storage and remobilization of photoassimilate are closely related to intra-annual sigma13C of tree rings, and understanding how these processes affect tree-ring sigma13C is therefore indispensable for improving the quality of climate reconstruction. Our first objective was to study the relationship between translocation path and phloem grain. We pulse-labelled a branch of Larix gmelinii (Rupr.) Rupr. and later analysed the sigma13C distribution in the stem. A 13C spiral translocation path closely related to the spiral grain was observed. Our second objective was to study the use of remobilized storage material for earlywood formation in spring, which is a suspected cause of the autocorrelation (correlation of ring parameters to the climate in the previous year) observed in (isotope) dendroclimatology. We pulse-labelled whole trees to study how spring, summer and autumn photoassimilate is later used for both earlywood and latewood formation. Analysis of intra-annual sigma13C of the tree rings formed after the labelling revealed that earlywood contained photoassimilate from the previous summer and autumn as well as from the current spring. Latewood was mainly composed of photoassimilate from the current year's summer/autumn, although it also relied on stored material in some cases. These results emphasize the need for separating earlywood and latewood for climate reconstruction work with narrow boreal tree rings.

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