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A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 2, NUMBER 10, OCTOBER 1989
CO2 AND PLANTS
"Elongation and Branching of Roots on Soybean Plants in a Carbon
Dioxide-Enriched Aerial Environment," D. Del Castillo, B. Acock
(USDA/ARS/NRI Sys. Res. Lab., Beltsville MD 20705) et al., 81(4),
692-695, July/Aug. 1989.
To test the theory that plants grown in high CO2 concentrations often have a
higher root weight than those grown in low CO2 concentrations, soybean plants
were grown in outdoor, sunlit plant-growth chambers in [CO2] of 330, 450, 600
and 800 micro L L-1 throughout the growing season. It is usually assumed that
the plants with extra root weight can explore a greater volume of soil and will,
therefore, have more water available to them. However, CO2 treatment did not
affect the rate of elongation of individual root axes. Instead, there was a
significant linear increase in the number of actively growing roots with
increased [CO2]. Thus, growing a plant in high [CO2] enabled it to explore a
given volume of soil more thoroughly, but did not increase the volume of soil
"Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment Enhances Survival of Azolla at
High Temperatures," S.B. Idso (U.S. Water Conserv. Lab., 4331 E. Broadway,
Phoenix AZ 85040), S.G. Allen et al., Environ. Exper. Bot., 29(3),
337-341, July 1989.
In two years of experimentation with Azolla at Phoenix, Arizona,
growth rates of this floating aquatic fern first decreased, then stagnated and
finally became negative when the mean air temperature rose above 30° C. When
the atmospheric CO2 content was increased from the mean ambient concentration of
340 micro mol CO2/mol air to 640, however, the debilitating effects of high
temperatures were reduced. Atmospheric CO2 enrichment may be capable of
preventing the deaths of some plant species by either the direct effects of
unduly high temperatures or associated debilitating diseases.
"Acclimation of Two Tomato Species to High Atmospheric CO2," S.
Yelle, R.C. Beeson Jr., M.J. Trudel, A. Gosselin (Dept. Phytol., Univ. Laval, Québec,
Québec G1K 7P4, Can.), Plant Physiol., 90(4), 1989.
"I. Sugar and Starch Concentrations," 1465-1472.
Two tomato species were exposed to two CO2 concentrations (330 or 900 micro
L L-1) for ten weeks. Carbon exchange rates were significantly higher in
CO2-enriched plants for the first few weeks of treatment but thereafter
decreased as tomato plants acclimated to high atmospheric CO2. Comparison of the
differing responses of the two species indicates that the long-term decline of
photosynthetic efficiency of leaf 5 cannot be attributed to an accumulation of
sugar and starch.
"II. Ribulose-1,5-Bisphosphate Carboxylase/Oxygenase and Phosphoenolpyruvate
Elevated CO2 concentrations increased the initial ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate
carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) activity of both species for the first five
weeks of treatment, but the difference did not persist during the last five
weeks. The two species showed the same trend to Rubisco declines under high CO2
concentrations. Proposes that the decline of activated Rubisco is the main cause
of the acclimation of tomato plants to high CO2 concentrations.
"Influence of Short-Term Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment on Growth,
Allocation Patterns, and Biochemistry of Black Spruce Seedlings at Different
Stages of Development," M.A. Campagna (Dept. Forest Sci., Univ. Laval,
Sainte Foy, Québec G1K 7P4, Can.), Can. J. For. Res., 19(6),
773-782, June 1989.
Black spruce seedlings were exposed to either elevated (1000 ppm) or ambient
(340 ppm) atmospheric CO2 levels at different stages of seedling development
over a winter greenhouse production cycle. In September, those seedlings exposed
to CO2 in April and May had respectively 30% and 14% greater biomass than
control seedlings, but seedlings from the other stages of development no longer
showed significant differences from the CO2 treatment. This property suggests
that in commercial greenhouse production, it could be very efficient to give a
short, preliminary CO2 pulse, in hopes of producing a size difference that is
maintained throughout the remainder of the production cycle under ambient levels
"Competition and Patterns of Resource Use Among Seedlings of Five
Tropical Trees Grown At Ambient and Elevated CO2," E.G. Reekie (Dept.
Biol., Acadia Univ., Wolfville, Nova Scotia B0P 1X0, Can.), F.A. Bazzaz, Oecologia,
79(2), 212-222, 1989.
Seedlings of five tropical trees were grown both as individuals and in
competition with each other at ambient (350) and two elevated levels of CO2 (525
and 700 micro L L-1) for a period of 111 days. Growth, allocation, canopy
architecture, mid-day leaf water potential and soil moisture content were
assessed three times over this period for individually grown plants, and at the
end of the experiment for competitively grown plants. Elevated CO2 did not
affect photosynthesis or overall growth of the individually grown plants but did
affect canopy architecture; mean canopy height increased with CO2 in Piper
auritum and Trichospermum mexicanum and decreased in Senna.
"Environmental Effects on Photorespiration of C3-C4 Species--I.
Influence of CO2 and O2 during Growth on Photorespiratory Characteristics and
Leaf Anatomy," G.T. Byrd, R.H. Brown (Dept. Agron., Univ. Georgia, Athens
GA 30602), Plant Physiol., 90(3), 1022-1028, 1989.
Examined the possibility of altering CO2 exchange of C3-C4 species by
growing them under various CO2 and O2 concentrations. Growth under CO2
concentrations of 100, 350 and 750 micro mol mol-1 had no significant effect on
CO2 exchange characteristics or leaf anatomy of Flaveria pringlei (C3),
Flaveria floridana (C3-C4), or Flaveria trinervia (C4). When
grown for 12 days at an O2 concentration of 20 micro mol mol-1, apparent
photosynthesis was strongly inhibited in Pancium miliodes (C3-C4) and to
a lesser degree in Panicum laxum (C3).
"Short Term Effect of CO2 Enrichment on Leaf Development and Gas
Exchange of Young Poplars (Populus euramericana cv I 214)," J.-P.
Gaudillère (Sta. Physiol. Végétale, Inst. Nat. Recherche
Agron., Ctr. Recherches de Bordeaux, BP 131 Bordeaux, France), M. Mousseau, Acta
O/Ecol./O/Ecol. Plant., 10(1), 95-105, 1989. In French.
Young poplars were exposed to 330 micro L L-1 for 15 days and 660 micro L
L-1 for the following 15 days. Under enriched CO2, leaves acquired greater size
and specific mass, and more stomata, epidermal cells and chlorophyll, than in
normal air. The change in CO2 to the higher level prompted renewed leaf
development, and a significantly greater consequent exchange of gases and water
vapor was measured for individual leaves.
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