Proceedings of the Japan Academy, Series B
Online ISSN : 1349-2896
Print ISSN : 0386-2208
ISSN-L : 0386-2208
Volume 99, Issue 5
Displaying 1-1 of 1 articles from this issue
  • Naohiko OHKOUCHI
    2023 Volume 99 Issue 5 Pages 131-154
    Published: May 11, 2023
    Released on J-STAGE: May 11, 2023

    Food web research is rapidly expanding through study of natural fractional abundance of 15N in individual amino acids. This paper overviews the principles of this isotope approach, and from my perspective, reanalyzes applications, and further extends the discussion. It applies kinetic isotope effects that enriches 15N in certain amino acids associated with the metabolic processes, which was clearly demonstrated by observations of both natural ecosystem and laboratory experiments. In trophic processes ‘trophic amino acids’ such as glutamic acid that significantly enrich 15N, whereas ‘source amino acids’ such as phenylalanine and methionine show little 15N enrichment. Through various applications conducted over the years, the principles of the method have shown to operate well and disentangle complex food webs and relevant problems. Applications include food chain length estimate, nitrogen resource assessment, tracking fish migration, and reconstruction of paleodiet. With this approach, considerations of a wide range of classical issues have been reinvigorated, while in the same time, new challenging frontiers are emerging.