Session D10: SPS Undergraduate Research II

2:30 PM–5:30 PM, Monday, March 21, 2011
Room: D221

Sponsoring Unit: SPS
Chair: Crystal Bailey, American Physical Society

Abstract ID: BAPS.2011.MAR.D10.1

Abstract: D10.00001 : The $^{11}$C Project:Measurement of Root Exudation at Elevated CO2 Levels in Low and High Nutrient Solutions

2:30 PM–2:42 PM

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  Verida Leandre
    (North Carolina AT SU)

  Calvin Howell
    (Duke Univ.)

Understanding the plant kingdom's mechanisms of resource management in variable environments is integral to predicting how plants will respond to an increase in atmospheric CO$_{2}$. The goal of this study is to determine the effects of changing nutrient conditions on the root exudation of barley plants at elevated CO$_{2}$ levels. The $^{11}$C group at the Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory (TUNL) tags various species of plants with short-lived positron-emitting radioisotopes in order to analyze metabolite transport in response to changes in the environment. $^{11}$C is produced at TUNL using a tandem Van de Graaff particle accelerator, then transported from TUNL to the Duke Univ. Phytotron (100m) where plants are labeled with $^{11}$C in a growth chamber. The chamber allows researchers to control the light intensity, air temperature, humidity and concentration of CO$_{2}$ in the air. The plant absorbs $^{11}$CO$_{2}$ in a leaf that is placed inside a cuvette through which radioactive $^{11}$CO$_{2}$ gas flows. The sugars in the labeling leaf are tagged with $^{11}$C and translocated throughout the plant similar to $^{12}$C. Scintillation detectors are used to track the tagged sugars as they are translocated through the plant and exudated from the root into the nutrient solution or $^{11}$CO$_{2}$ gas is respired by the root. The labeling system, detector arrangement, electronics and data analysis will be described and preliminary results will be presented.

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