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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 25 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 25 Mar 2020

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Simultaneous leaf-level measurement of trace gas emissions and photosynthesis with a portable photosynthesis system

Mj Riches, Daniel Lee, and Delphine K. Farmer Mj Riches et al.
  • Department of Chemistry, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, 80523, USA

Abstract. Plants emit considerable quantities of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the identity and amount of which vary with temperature, light and other environmental factors. Portable photosynthesis systems are a useful method for simultaneously quantifying in situ leaf-level emissions of VOCs and plant physiology. We present a comprehensive characterization of the LI-6800 portable photosynthesis system's ability to be coupled to trace gas detectors and measure leaf-level trace gas emissions, including limits in flow rates, environmental parameters, and VOC backgrounds. Instrument contaminants from the LI-6800 can be substantial, but are dominantly complex molecules such as siloxanes that are structurally dissimilar to biogenic VOCs and thus unlikely to interfere with most leaf-level emissions measurements. We validate the method by comparing CO2 assimilation calculated internally by the portable photosynthesis system to measurements taken with an external CO2 gas analyzer; these assimilation measurements agree within 1 %. We also demonstrate both online and offline measurements of plant trace gas exchange using the LI-6800. Offline measurements by pre-concentration on adsorbent cartridges enable detection of a broad suite of VOCs, including monoterpenes (e.g., limonene) and aldehydes (e.g., decanal). Online measurements can be more challenging if flow rates require dilution with ultra-pure zero air. We use high resolution time-of-flight chemical ionization mass spectrometry coupled to the LI-6800 to measure direct plant emission of formic acid.

Mj Riches et al.

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Mj Riches et al.


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Latest update: 05 Apr 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
This manuscript presents a thorough characterization of a leaf emission sampling technique, coupling a portable photosynthesis system with different trace gas analyzers. We further provide several case studies using both online and offline gas analyzers to measure different types of leaf emissions. We further highlight both the capabilities and pitfalls of this method.
This manuscript presents a thorough characterization of a leaf emission sampling technique,...