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Importance of root uptake of CO on C transfer to plants impacted by below-ground CH release.

07:00 EST 2nd February 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Importance of root uptake of CO on C transfer to plants impacted by below-ground CH release."

C-labelled methane (CH) released from deep underground radioactive waste disposal facilities can be a below-ground source of CO owing to microbial oxidation of CH to CO in soils. Environmental C models assume that the transfer of CO from soil to plant occurs via foliar uptake of CO. Nevertheless, the importance of CO root uptake is not well understood. In the present study, below-ground transport and oxidation of CH were modeled and incorporated into an existing land-surface CO model (SOLVEG-II) to assess the relative importance of root uptake and foliar uptake on CO transfer from soil to plants. Performance of the model in calculating the below-ground dynamics of CH was validated by simulating a field experiment of CH (as a substitute for CH) injection into subsoil in a wheat field in the UK. The proposed model simulation was then applied to C transfer in a hypothetical ecosystem impacted by continuous CH input from the water table (bottom of 1-m thick soil), which simulated continuous release of CH from a deep underground radioactive waste disposal facility. The contrast between the results obtained from the model calculation that assumed different distributions of roots (rooting depths of 11 cm, or 97 cm) and methane oxidation (characterized by e-folding depths of 5 cm, 20 cm, or 80 cm) in the soil provided insight into the relative importance of root uptake and foliar uptake pathways. In the shallowly rooted ecosystem with rooting depth of 11 cm, foliar uptake of CO was significant, accounting for 80% of the C accumulation (as organic C) in the plant (leaf compartment). By contrast, in a deeply rooted ecosystem (rooting depth of 97 cm), where the root penetrated to depths close to the water-table, more than half (63%) the C accumulated in the plant was transferred via the root uptake pathway. We found that CO root uptake (thus C accumulation in the plant) in this ecosystem depended on the distribution of methane oxidation in the soil; all C accumulated in the plant was transferred by the root uptake pathway when methane oxidation occurred at considerable depths (e-folding depths of 20 cm, or 80 cm) in the soil. The high level of CO root uptake was ascribed to the oxidation of added CH (i.e., production of CO) in the deep part of the soil and the subsequent high level of root uptake of the deep soil-water containing CO. These results indicate that CO root uptake contributes significantly to CO transfer to plants if CH oxidation occurs at great depths and roots penetrate deeply into the soil. It is recommended that current environmental C models must be refined to consider the importance of the root uptake pathway to ensure that dose estimates of CH release from deep underground waste disposal facilities are accurate.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Journal of environmental radioactivity
ISSN: 1879-1700
Pages: 5-18

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