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The Future of Indian Mustard in a CO2-Enriched & Warmer World

Paper Reviewed
Seth, C.S. and Misra, V. 2014. Changes in C-N metabolism under elevated CO2 and temperature in Indian mustard (Brassica juncea L.): an adaptation strategy under climate change scenario. Journal of Plant Research 127: 793-802.

Introducing their study of rapeseed-mustard (Brassica spp.), Seth and Misra (2014) write that this plant is "a major oilseed crop with India being the second largest cultivator after China," while further noting that "although there has been a significant increase in oilseed production since the 1960s, demand for future oilseed production is likely to go up due to the increase in population and their earnings." And in light of these observations, they conducted a growth chamber experiment designed to determine how Indian mustard was likely to fare in a climate of predicted-future verses ambient atmospheric CO2 concentrations (700 vs 370 ppm), as well as predicted-future verses ambient atmospheric day/night temperatures (30/22 vs 25/17°C).

This experiment revealed, as tabulated by the two Indian researchers, that plant height was increased by 35.5% in the elevated CO2 treatment and by 12.2% in the elevated CO2 plus elevated temperature treatment. Likewise, plant leaf area index was increased by 36.7% and 21.1% in the identical respective treatments, while total plant biomass was increased by 32.4% and 9.7%, and total soluble protein content was increased by 19.3% and 8.1% under the same respective conditions.

And thus we have yet another factual demonstration of the positive impacts that the historical and still-ongoing increase in the air's CO2 content has had, and continues to have, on Earth's plants and the associated agricultural enterprises of humanity.

Posted 10 March 2015