Carbon-isotope discrimination by leaves of Flaveria species exhibiting different amounts of C3-and C4-cycle co-function
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Carbon-isotope ratios were examined as δ(13)C values in several C3, C4, and C3-C4 Flaveria species, and compared to predicted δ(13)C, values generated from theoretical models. The measured δ(13)C values were within 4‰ of those predicted from the models. The models were used to identify factors that contribute to C3-like δ(13)C values in C3-C4 species that exhibit considerable C4-cycle activity. Two of the factors contributing to C3-like δ(13)C values are high CO2 leakiness from the C4 pathway and pi/pa values that were higher than C4 congeners. A marked break occurred in the relationship between the percentage of atmospheric CO2 assimilated through the C4 cycle and the δ(13)C value. Below 50% C4-cycle assimialtion there was no significant relationship between the variables, but above 50% the δ(13)C values became less negative. These results demonstrate that the level of C4-cycle expression can increase from, 0 to 50% with little integration of carbon transfer from the C4 to the C3 cycle. As expression increaces above 50%, however, increased integration of C3- and C4-cycle co-function occurs.
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