Leaf water 18O and 2H maps show directional enrichment discrepancy in Colocasia esculenta


Spatial patterns of leaf water isotopes are challenging to predict because of the intricate link between vein and lamina water. Many models have attempted to predict these patterns, but to date most have focused on monocots with parallel veins. These provide a simple system to study, but do not represent the majority of plant species. Here, a new protocol is developed using a Picarro induction module coupled to a cavity ringdown spectrometer to obtain maps of the leaf water isotopes (18O and D). The technique is applied to Colocasia esculenta leaves. The results are compared to isotope ratio mass spectrometry. In C. esculenta, a large enrichment in the radial direction is observed, but not in the longitudinal direction. The string-of-lakes model fails to predict the observed patterns, while the Farquhar-Gan model is more successful, especially when enrichment is accounted for along the radial and longitudinal direction together. Our results show that reticulate veined leaves experience a larger enrichment along the axis of the secondary veins than along the midrib. We hypothesize that this is due to the higher minor/major vein ratio that leads to longer pathways between major veins and sites of evaporation.