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Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment Helps Plants to Deal with Drought

Paper Reviewed
Oliveira, V.F., Silva, E.A. and Carvalho, M.A.M. 2016. Elevated CO2 atmosphere minimizes the effect of drought on the Cerrado species Chrysolaena obovata. Frontiers in Plant Science 7: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00810.

Using Chrysolaena obovata plants they had collected in a preserved area of Brazil, which they maintained in 3-liter pots filled with forest soil and which they cultivated within four open-top chambers inside a glasshouse, Oliveira et al. (2016) maintained half of the plants in air of 380 ppm CO2 and half of them in air of 760 ppm CO2 for a period of 45 days, after which -- and for each CO2 concentration -- they separated the plants into four water replacement treatments: control (100% water replacement), low drought (75% water replacement), medium drought (50% water replacement), and severe drought (25% water replacement) of the total transpired water of the previous 48 hours, as determined by the before-and-after measured weights of each plant-pot combination. And what did they thereby learn?

The three Brazilian researchers report discovering that "under elevated CO2, the negative effects of water restriction on physiological processes were minimized, including the maintenance of rhizophore water potential, increase in water use efficiency, maintenance of photosynthesis and fructan reserves for a longer period," which set of conditions, in their words, should "favor the conservation of this species in predicted climate change scenarios." And that is good news worth reporting!

Posted 17 October 2016