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Journal Article

Fingerprinting environmental conditions and related stress using stable isotopic composition of rice (Oryza sativa L.) grain organic matter


Geilmann,  Heike
Service Facility Stable Isotope, Dr. W. A. Brand, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Kaushal, R., Ghosh, P., & Geilmann, H. (2016). Fingerprinting environmental conditions and related stress using stable isotopic composition of rice (Oryza sativa L.) grain organic matter. Ecological Indicators, 61, 941-951. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.10.050.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0029-5688-B
Sea level rise (SLR) is a primary factor responsible for inundation of low-lying coastal regions across theworld, which in turn governs the agricultural productivity. In this study, rice (Oryza sativa L.) cultivatedseasonally in the Kuttanad Wetland, a SLR prone region on the southwest coast of India, were analysedfor oxygen, hydrogen and carbon isotopic ratios (18O, 2H and 13C) to distinguish the seasonal envi-ronmental conditions prevalent during rice cultivation. The region receives high rainfall during the wetseason which promotes large supply of fresh water to the local water bodies via the rivers. In contrast,during the dry season reduced river discharge favours sea water incursion which adversely affects therice cultivation. The water for rice cultivation is derived from regional water bodies that are characterisedby seasonal salinity variation which co-varies with the 18O and 2H values. Rice cultivated during thewet and the dry season bears the isotopic imprints of this water. We explored the utility of a mechanisticmodel to quantify the contribution of two prominent factors, namely relative humidity and source watercomposition in governing the seasonal variation in oxygen isotopic composition of rice grain OM. 13Cvalues of rice grain OM were used to deduce the stress level by estimating the intrinsic water use efficiency(WUEi) of the crop during the two seasons. 1.3 times higher WUEiwas exhibited by the same genotypeduring the dry season. The approach can be extended to other low lying coastal agro-ecosystems to inferthe growth conditions of cultivated crops and can further be utilised for retrieving paleo-environmentalinformation from well preserved archaeological plant remains.