Location: Soil and Water Management Research
Title: Time for cotton to uptake water of a known isotopic signature as measured in leaf petioles Authors
Submitted to: Agricultural Sciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 15, 2014
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: While stable isotopes of water have been used to study water movement through the environment, they generally have not been used to examine shorter, more transient events, e.g., rainfall of less than 25 mm. With the development of robust methods that use isotope ratio infrared spectrometry, evaluating samples has become faster and simpler, allowing more soil and plant samples to be collected and analyzed. Using larger sampling rates can therefore increase the resolution of changes in stable isotopes within an ecosystem, and allows for a better understanding of how quickly rainwater that enters the soil by infiltration is transpired by a plant via root water uptake. Quantifying rainwater uptake by plants is essential to increase crop production in rainfed agriculture. Thus the objective of this study was to measure the time required by a plant to transpire water from a source of water with a different isotopic signature than the water that the plant was irrigated. To this end, cotton (Gossypium hirsutum (L.)) plants were grown in a greenhouse and the time required for the enriched water added the soil to show up in the meristematic petioles of cotton leaves was measured. The initial divergence from the irrigation water signature occurred as quickly as 4 hours. The water from the sampled petioles then reached equilibrium with the new source water within 12 hours.