Carbon isotopes and carbon turnover in cotton and wheat FACE experiments

Steven Leavitt, Eldor A. Paul, Abraham Galadima, Francis S. Nakayama, Shelley R. Danzer, Hyrum Johnson, Bruce A. Kimball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The Maricopa cotton and wheat FACE (free-air CO2 enrichment) experiments offer propitious opportunity to quantify carbon turnover. The commercial CO2 (% MathType!MTEF!2!1!+-% feaafiart1ev1aaatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLn% hiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr% 4rNCHbGeaGqiVu0Je9sqqrpepC0xbbL8F4rqqrFfpeea0xe9Lq-Jc9% vqaqpepm0xbba9pwe9Q8fs0-yqaqpepae9pg0FirpepeKkFr0xfr-x% fr-xb9adbaqaaeGaciGaaiaabeqaamaabaabaaGcbaGaeqiTdq2aaW% baaSqabeaacaaIXaGaaG4maaaakiaaboeacqGHijYUcqGHsislcaaI% ZaGaaG4naiaacwcaliaad+gaaaa!3FCB!\[\delta ^{13} {\text{C}} \approx - 37\% o\]) used to elevate CO2 concentration in field plots provided a strongly 13C-depleted tracer. Soil CO2 and δ 13C of soil organic carbon (SOC) in CO2-enriched and Control plots were measured between the final cotton FACE project (October 1991) and the end of the second wheat experiment (June 1994). The initial 13C-depletion in SOC of cotton FACE plots (measured by the difference in δ 13C between FACE and Control plots) persisted at the same level (1.9‰) 1.5 years after the experiment ended. A similar depletion was observed in soil CO2 evolved in the same plots, indicating ongoing decomposition of the new SOC. The SOC δ 13C of wheat plots before and after two growing seasons showed increasing 13C-depletion in FACE relative to Control. Isotopic mass balance was consistent with 5–6% new carbon input from the two wheat crops. This is lower than the 12–13% calculated for FACE cotton and perhaps a consequence of the larger root system of cotton or the 3-year duration of the cotton experiments versus 2 years for the wheat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-155
Number of pages9
JournalPlant and Soil: An International Journal on Plant-Soil Relationships
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1995


  • C
  • CO
  • FACE
  • cotton
  • soil organic carbon
  • wheat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Carbon isotopes and carbon turnover in cotton and wheat FACE experiments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this