Investigation of long-term transpiration in wheat using stable hydrogen isotope composition of leaf waxes


Nikolai Pedentchouk (UEA), Cristobal Uauy (JIC)


Knowing various aspects of plant physiology is important for understanding the role of feedbacks between terrestrial vegetation and the global carbon and hydrological cycles. Recent global climate models incorporate evapotranspiration from land as one of the key components that influence water movement among the continents, ocean, and atmosphere. Furthermore, models that explore possible ways of using crop biogeoengineering for mitigating regional climate change depend on the knowledge of how conventional and bioengineered agricultural crops differ with respect to albedo and evapotranspiration. The reliability of these models requires understanding of long-term factors that control leaf stomatal conductance of physiologically and biochemically different land plants. The main goal of this work is to understand how the quantity and chemical composition of leaf waxes affect plant growth and performance of wheat lines grown under UK climatic conditions. In this ELSA project, we will characterise a range of physiological responses in wheat lines, which differ in glaucousness to establish how this affects leaf transpiration and overall plant performance in the field.

Hypothesis to be tested

Increased leaf temperature in non-glaucous wheat results in greater transpiration and more positive n-alkane d2H values of leaf waxes.

ELSA project

The project will focus on collecting stable H isotope data from n-alkanes extracted from leaf waxes of glaucous and non-glaucous lines of wheat. We plan to supplement these data by investigating H isotope composition of leaf and soil water collected at the same time and from the same plants used for leaf wax extraction. In addition to generating isotope data, we will monitor plant physiological and biochemical parameters of waxy and non-waxy plants.


Field trial of wheat strains with varying amounts of leaf wax

Earlham institute
Quadram Institute Bioscience
John Innes Centre
The Sainsbury Laboratory
University of East Anglia

© Norwich Research Park Science 2019. All rights reserved