Natural abundance of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes in Cannabis sativa reflects growth conditions

Denton, Tricia M., Schmidt, Susanne, Critchley, Christa and Stewart, George R. (2001) Natural abundance of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes in Cannabis sativa reflects growth conditions. Australian Journal of Plant Physiology, 28 10: 1005-1012. doi:10.1071/PP01066

Author Denton, Tricia M.
Schmidt, Susanne
Critchley, Christa
Stewart, George R.
Title Natural abundance of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes in Cannabis sativa reflects growth conditions
Journal name Australian Journal of Plant Physiology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0310-7841
Publication date 2001-01-01
Year available 2001
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/PP01066
Open Access Status
Volume 28
Issue 10
Start page 1005
End page 1012
Total pages 8
Editor J.S. McCutchan
Place of publication Collingwood, Australia
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Language eng
Subject C1
270402 Plant Physiology
620199 Field crops not elsewhere classified
Abstract Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope signatures (delta C-13 and delta N-15) of Cannabis sativa were assessed for their usefulness to trace seized Cannabis leaves to the country of origin and to source crops by determining how isotope signatures relate to plant growth conditions. The isotopic composition of Cannabis examined here covered nearly the entire range of values reported for terrestrial C-3 plants. The delta C-13 values of Cannabis from Australia, Papua New Guinea and Thailand ranged from -36 to -25 parts per thousand, and delta N-15 values ranged from -1.0 to 15.8 parts per thousand. The stable isotope content did not allow differentiation between Cannabis originating from the three countries, but delta C-13 values of plantation-grown Cannabis differed between well-watered plants (average delta C-13 of -30.0 parts per thousand) and plants that had received little irrigation (average delta C-13 of -26.4 parts per thousand). Cannabis grown under controlled conditions had delta C-13 values of -32.6 and -30.6 parts per thousand with high and low water supply, respectively. These results indicate that water availability determines leaf C-13 in plants grown under similar conditions of light, temperature and air humidity. The delta C-13 values also distinguished between indoor- and outdoor-grown Cannabis; indoor- grown plants had overall more negative delta C-13 values (average -31.8 parts per thousand) than outdoor-grown plants (average -27.9 parts per thousand). Contributing to the strong C-13-depletion of indoor- grown plants may be high relative humidity, poor ventilation and recycling of C-13-depleted respired CO2. Mineral fertilizers had mostly lower delta N-15 values (-0.2 to 2.2 parts per thousand) than manure-based fertilizers (7.6 to 22.7 parts per thousand). It was possible to link delta N-15 values of fertilizers associated with a crop site to soil and plant delta N-15 values. The strong relationship between soil, fertilizer, and plant delta N-15 suggests that Cannabis delta N-15 is determined by the isotopic composition of the nitrogen source. The distinct delta N-15 values measured in Cannabis crops make delta N-15 an excellent tool for matching seized Cannabis with a source crop. A case study is presented that demonstrates how delta C-13 and delta N-15 values can be used as a forensic tool.
Keyword Plant Sciences
Cannabis Sativa L.
Forensic Botany
Stable Isotopes
Delta C-13
Delta N-15
Water-use Efficiency
Delta-c-13 Values
Tropical Forest
Q-Index Code C1
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Biological Sciences Publications
Ecology Centre Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 36 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 02:23:52 EST