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Stable Isotopes of Cu and Zn in Higher Plants: Evidence for Cu Reduction at the Root Surface and Two Conceptual Models for Isotopic Fractionation Processes

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journal contribution
posted on 06.03.2012, 00:00 by D. Jouvin, D. J. Weiss, T. F. M. Mason, M. N. Bravin, P. Louvat, F. Zhao, F. Ferec, P. Hinsinger, M. F. Benedetti
Recent reports suggest that significant fractionation of stable metal isotopes occurs during biogeochemical cycling and that the uptake into higher plants is an important process. To test isotopic fractionation of copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) during plant uptake and constrain its controls, we grew lettuce, tomato, rice and durum wheat under controlled conditions in nutrient solutions with variable metal speciation and iron (Fe) supply. The results show that the fractionation patterns of these two micronutrients are decoupled during the transport from nutrient solution to root. In roots, we found an enrichment of the heavier isotopes for Zn, in agreement with previous studies, but an enrichment of isotopically light Cu, suggesting a reduction of Cu­(II) possibly at the surfaces of the root cell plasma membranes. This observation holds for both graminaceous and nongraminaceaous species and confirms that reduction is a predominant and ubiquitous mechanism for the acquisition of Cu into plants similar to the mechanism for the acquisition of iron (Fe) by the strategy I plant species. We propose two preliminary models of isotope fractionation processes of Cu and Zn in plants with different uptake strategies.