Soybean photosynthetic and biomass responses to carbon dioxide concentrations ranging from pre-industrial to the distant future

David W. Drag, Rebecca Slattery, Matthew Siebers, Evan H. Delucia, Donald R. Ort, Carl J. Bernacchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration ([CO2]) directly impacts C3 plant photosynthesis and productivity, and the rate at which [CO2] is increasing is greater than initially predicted by worst-case scenario climate models. Thus, it is increasingly important to assess the physiological responses of C3 plants, especially those that serve as important crops, to [CO2] beyond the mid-range levels used in traditional experiments. Here, we grew the C3 crop soybean (Glycine max) at eight different [CO2] levels spanning subambient (340 ppm) to the highest level thought plausible (~2000 ppm) in chambers for 5 weeks. Physiological development was delayed and plant height and total leaf area increased at [CO2] levels higher than ambient conditions, with very little difference in these parameters among the elevated [CO2] treatments >900 ppm. Daily photosynthesis initially increased with rising [CO2] but began to level off at ~1000 ppm CO2. Similar results occurred in biomass accumulation. Thus, as [CO2] continues to match or exceed the worst-case emission scenarios, these results indicate that carbon gain, growth, and potentially yield increases will diminish, thereby ultimately constraining the positive impact that continuing increases in atmospheric [CO2] could have on crop productivity and global terrestrial carbon sinks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3690-3700
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of experimental botany
Volume71
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 22 2020

Keywords

  • Biomass
  • elevated CO
  • photosynthesis
  • soybean (Glycine max)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science

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