Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2020, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (生态技术与方法专辑): 0-0.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2019.0208

   

Tracing technology of carbon isotope and its applications to studies of carbon cycling in terrestrial ecosystem

Da TiGe1,Dongdong Wang2,Zhenke Zhu3,Liang Wei4,Xiaomeng Wei4, 1   

  1. 1.
    2. Institute of Subtropical Agriculture,Chinese Academy of Sciences;University of Chinese Academy of Sciences
    3. Institute of Subtropical Agriculture,Chinese Academy of Sciences
    4. Institute of Subtropical Agriculture,Chinese Academy of Sciences; University of Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Received:2019-08-06 Revised:2019-12-26 Online:2020-01-03 Published:2020-03-20
  • Contact: Da TiGe
  • Supported by:
    ;Natural Science Foundation of Hunan Province;the Hunan Province Base for Scientific and Technological Innovation Cooperation;Innovative Research Groups of the Natural Science Foundation of Hunan Province

Abstract: Recently developed during last decade, the carbon isotope tracing technology is one of the most reliable methods, which is being widely used in the study of carbon(C) cycling in terrestrial ecosystems, due to its high specificity and sensitivity. In this review, the methods and applications of C isotope tracing technology in C cycle of terrestrial ecosystem have been reviewed. It was revealed that four different methods are currently being used to understand C cycling in terrestrial ecosystem under laboratory and field conditions, such as natural abundance method, Free-Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) technology coupling with 13C dilution method, pulse and continuous labeling method, and high-abundance isotope substrate enrichment method. Results of field experiments and indoor incubation experiments employing carbon isotope tracing technology were combined in order to provide means for quantifying the transformation and distribution of photosynthetic C in plant-soil system. Further, these techniques were also helpful in understanding the contribution of plant photosynthetic C on soil organic matter, stabilization process and the microbial mechanism, illustrating dynamic changes of soil organic carbon (SOC), evaluating the contribution of new and old organic C to soil C storage, as well as estimating the micromechanism of SOC input, conversion and stabilization in terrestrial ecosystems. C cycle is affected by climate, vegetation, human activities and other factors, therefore, it is imperative to further develop a sensitive, accurate, multi-scale and multi-directional isotope tracing system by combining carbon isotopes with mass spectrometry, spectroscopy and molecular biological technology. We have summarized the coupling application of carbon isotope tracing technology and its in-situ detection involving molecular and biological approaches; and prospected the existing issues of carbon isotope tracing technology.

Key words: Terrestrial ecosystem, soil organic matter, carbon cycle, carbon isotope tracing technology, stable carbon isotope probe technology

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