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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Frontiers in Plant Science
Volume (Issue) 6
Page(s) 1008
Title of proceedings Frontiers in Plant Science
DOI 10.3389/fpls.2015.01008


Foliar samples were harvested from two oaks, a beech, and a yew at the same site in order to trace the development of the leaves over an entire vegetation season. Cellulose yield and stable isotopic compositions (δ13C, δ18O, and δD) were analyzed on leaf cellulose. All parameters unequivocally define a juvenile and a mature period in the foliar expansion of each species. The accompanying shifts of the δ13C-values are in agreement with the transition from remobilized carbohydrates (juvenile period), to current photosynthates (mature phase). While the opponent seasonal trends of δ18O of blade and vein cellulose are in perfect agreement with the state-of-art mechanistic understanding, the lack of this discrepancy for δD, documented for the first time, is unexpected. For example, the offset range of 18 permil (oak veins) to 57 permil (oak blades) in δD may represent a process driven shift from autotrophic to heterotrophic processes. The shared pattern between blade and vein found for both oak and beech suggests an overwhelming metabolic isotope effect on δD that might be accompanied by proton transfer linked to the Calvin-cycle. These results provide strong evidence that hydrogen and oxygen are under different biochemical controls even at the leaf level.