Effects of photorespiration, the cytochrome pathway, and the alternative pathway on the triple isotopic composition of atmospheric O2

Alon Angert*, Shimon Rachmilevitch, Eugeni Barkan, Boaz Luz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations

Abstract

The triple isotopic composition of atmospheric O2 is a new tracer used to estimate changes in global productivity. To estimate such changes, knowledge of the relationship between the discrimination against 17O and the discrimination against 18O is needed. This relationship is presented as χ = ln(17α /ln(18α). Here, the value of theta was evaluated for the most important processes that affect the isotopic composition of oxygen. Similar values were found for dark respiration through the cytochrome pathway (0.516 ± 0.001) and the alternative pathway (0.514 ± 0.001), and slightly higher value was found for diffusion in air (0.521 ± 0.001). The combined effect of diffusion and respiration on the atmosphere was shown to be close to that of dark respiration. The value we found for photorespiration (0.506 ± 0.005) is considerably lower than that of dark respiration. Our results clearly show that the triple isotopic composition of the atmosphere is affected by the relative rates of photorespiration and dark respiration. Also, we show that closing the current global isotopic balance will enable the estimation of the current global rate of photorespiration. Using the Last Glacial Maximum as a case study, we show that variations in global rate of photorespiration affected the triple isotopic composition in the past. Strong fractionations measured in illuminated plants indicated that the alternative pathway is activated in the same conditions that favor high rate of photorespiration. This activation suggests that the global rate of the alternative pathway is higher than believed thus far, and may help to close the gap between the calculated and measured Dole Effect.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)30-1 - 30-14
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2003

Keywords

  • Dole effect
  • LGM
  • O
  • Oxygen isotopes
  • Photorespiration
  • Triple isotope

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