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Bamboos Exposed to Elevated CO2 and Ozone: How Do They Do?

Paper Reviewed
Guo, Z., Zhuang, M., Li, Y., Chen, S. and Yang, Q. 2015. Adaptability of Indocalamus decorus to climate change based on physiological and biochemical responses to elevated carbon dioxide and ozone. iForest 9: 311-317.

To answer the question posed in the title of this review, Guo et al. (2015) grew young bamboo plants in pots filled with a mixture of red soil and silver sand containing significant amounts of needed nutrients within open-top chambers maintained at normal and double-normal amounts of both atmospheric CO2 and O3. And what did they thereby learn?

The five Chinese researchers report that after 103 days of treatment, "elevated O3 depressed net photosynthetic rate without changing stomatal function," and that it "caused no significant oxidative damage in the leaves," where "high levels of anti-oxidase activities were maintained," indicating that "this species has a strong tolerance to elevated O3." Further, they report that "decreases in reactive oxygen content and anti-oxidase activity in the leaves highlight the significant positive effects of elevated CO2 on photosynthesis" (see figure below), in that they "mitigated the oxidative damage caused by O3 and promoted the growth of I. decorus."

In light of these several findings, Guo et al. conclude that "I. decorus tolerated the two greenhouse gases, and was able to adapt to elevated CO2 and O3 levels," suggesting that bamboos will likely continue to fare well in both the near and distant future.

Figure 1. Effects of elevated ozone (EO), elevated CO2 (EC) and elevated ozone and elevated CO2 (EOEC) on the net photosynthetic rate of young bamboo plants after 103 days. Adapted from Guo et al. (2015).

Posted 16 February 2017