Carbon-Isotope Composition of Biochemical Fractions and the Regulation of Carbon Balance in Leaves of the C3-Crassulacean Acid Metabolism Intermediate Clusia minor L. Growing in Trinidad
Carbon-isotope ratios ([delta]13Cs) were measured for various bio-chemical fractions quantitatively extracted from naturally exposed and shaded leaves of the C3-Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) intermediate Clusia minor, sampled at dawn and dusk on days during the wet and dry seasons in Trinidad. As the activity of CAM increased in response to decreased availability of water and higher photon flux density, organic acids and soluble sugars were enriched in 13C by approximately 3.5 to 4%[per mille (thousand) sign] compared to plants sampled during the wet season. The induction of CAM was accompanied by a doubling in size of the reserve carbohydrate pools. Moreover, stoichiometric measurements indicated that degradation of both chloroplastic reserves and soluble sugars were necessary to supply phosphoenolpyruvate for the synthesis of organic acids at night. Results also suggest that two pools of soluble sugars exist in leaves of C. minor that perform CAM, one a vacuolar pool enriched in 13C and the second a transport pool depleted in 13C. Estimates of carbon-isotope discrimination expressed during CAM, derived from the trafficking among inorganic carbon, organic acids, and carbohydrate pools overnight, ranged from 0.9 to 3.1%[per mille (thousand) sign]. The [delta]13C of structural material did not change significantly between wet and dry seasons, indicating that most of the carbon used in growth was derived from C3 carboxylation.