Two types of labelling chamber set-ups for plants are generally used with 13C stable isotopes. The first type are commercially available, automatic cultivation chambers with a built-in regulation module for environmental parameters such as light, temperature and humidity. The second type, as oftered by Vienna Scientific, makes use of custom-made labelling devices placed in growth chambers or glasshouses which external light, temperature etc. regulation. Both approaches equally enable continuous monitoring and regulation of atmospheric parameters during labeling. Commonly conducted enrichment of other isotopes such as 15N or 34S does not require closed systems but systems allowing to add labelled liquids. Generally, both equipment types are suitable to perform pulse labeling and uniformly, long-term labeling of plants towards different isotope enrichment.
The specific design of the labelling chamber will depend on the type of isotope(s) you wish to use and the specific experimental protocol you wish to follow. However, here are some general guidelines Vienna Scientific will follow to support the development of an isotope labelling chamber suiting your needs:
See the VSI webpage on ecosystem respiration chambers concerning further general recommendation for chamber designs. Contact us to discuss possible labelling chamber designs that meet your scientific objectives and budget.
Global 13C labelling is used to produce uniformly 13C-labelled plants (here referred to as 13C plants) and requires either a continuous supply of 13CO2 throughout the cultivation or in pulses. The 13CO2 is applied as a substrate which is further converted into all the assimilates required to maintain plant metabolism. This requires airtight growth chambers (labelling chambers) with a 13CO2 atmosphere. As the production of 13C-enriched plants requires long-term cultivation, the technical equipment must allow the regulation of growth parameters such as temperature, light and humidity, as well as CO2 and O2 levels. For rhizoboxes, the rhizobox top-up chambers of Vienna Scientific allow to reach this goal cost effectvely and in combination with root and rhizosphere studies, proving a sealed top-up chamber for our "old" rhizobox design - priving an effective solution to label you rhizobox-grown plants over a longer period or in pulses. The closed chambers allow for connecting labeled gas sources and/or to connect isotopic analysers via simple in- and outlets. Advanced chamber mixing (advisable for larger top-up chambers with volumes beyond the mixing capacitiy of connected instruments) can be provided by optional internal ventilators. See the webpage on ecosystem respiration chambers concerning further recommendation for chamber designs.