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The Effect of Elevated CO2 on Dark Respiration of Grapevine Cane Wood
Smart, D.R.  2004.  Exposure to elevated carbon dioxide concentration in the dark lowers the respiration quotient of Vitis cane wood.  Tree Physiology 24: 115-120.

It is a well established fact that dark respiration, or the net nonphotorespiratory CO2 release from plant tissue in the dark, is generally immediately lowered - albeit often minimally - when plants are exposed to elevated concentrations of atmospheric CO2 (Amthor, 1997, 2000; Jach and Ceulemans, 2000; Tingey et al., 2000; Griffin et al., 2001; Hamilton et al., 2001; Tjoelker et al., 2001).  But why does it happen?

What was done
In an investigation designed to probe this issue, Smart monitored net CO2 and O2 exchange rates from grapevine cane wood of the rootstock hybrid Vitis rupestris Scheele x V. riparia Michx. cv. 3309 Couderc (3309C) under steady-state conditions with high-resolution CO2 and O2 analyzers after the CO2 concentration of the air around the cane tissue was abruptly raised and then held constant at the new concentration for periods of several hours.

What was learned
Smart reports that elevated CO2 decreased dark respiration by about 6% when the atmospheric CO2 concentration was raised from 300 to 750 ppm and by a further 5% when it was increased from 750 to 2000 ppm, which response he appropriately describes as "small."  In addition, ancillary measurements of a number of other things occurring simultaneously led him to conclude, for Vitis cane wood at least, that "inhibition of CO2 efflux in response to high CO2 is an indirect consequence of non-photosynthetic carboxylation reactions, and not a result of inhibition of respiratory metabolism."

What it means
Because the observed change in dark respiration was small compared to the change in CO2 concentration around the grapevine cane wood, Smart concludes that "as global CO2 rises, it is unlikely that it will have a substantial impact on grapevine cane wood respiration."  Nevertheless, elevated CO2 concentrations have been shown to have large positive effects on grapevine net photosynthesis (Lakso et al., 1986; Gamon and Pearcy, 1989), which should bode well for the cultivation of grapes in the years and decades ahead.

Anthor, J.S.  1997.  Plant respiratory responses to elevated carbon dioxide partial pressures.  In: Allen Jr., L.H., Kirkham, M.B., Olszyk, D.M. and Whitman, C.E. (Eds.), Advances in Carbon Dioxide Effects Research.  American Society of Agronomy, Madison, WI, USA, pp. 35-78.

Amthor, J.S.  2000.  Direct effect of elevated CO2 on nocturnal in situ leaf respiration in nine temperate deciduous tree species is small.  Tree Physiology 20: 139-144.

Gamon, J.A. and Pearcy, R.W.  1989.  Leaf movement, stress avoidance and photosynthesis in Vitis californicaOecologia 79: 475-481.

Griffin, K.L., Tissue, D.T., Turnbull, M.H., Schuster, W. and Whitehead, D.  2001.  Leaf dark respiration as a function of canopy position in Nothofagus fusca trees grown at ambient and elevated CO2 partial pressures for 5 years.  Functional Ecology 15: 497-505.

Hamilton, J.G., Thomas, R.B. and DeLucia, E.H.  2001.  Direct and indirect effects of elevated CO2 on leaf respiration in a forest ecosystem.  Plant, Cell and Environment 24: 975-982.

Jach, M.E. and Ceulemans, R.  2000.  Short- versus long-term effects of elevated CO2 on night-time respiration of needles of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.).  Photosynthetica 38: 57-67.

Lakso, A.N., Reisch, B.I., Mortensen, J. and Roberts, M.H.  1986.  Carbon dioxide enrichment for stimulation of growth of in vitro-propagated grapevines after transfer from culture.  Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science 111: 634-638.

Tingey, D.T., Phillips, D.L. and Johnson, M.G.  2000.  Elevated CO2 and conifer roots: effects on growth, life span and turnover.  New Phytologist 147: 87-104.

Tjoelker, M.G., Oleskyn, J., Lee, T.D. and Reich, P.B.  2001.  Direct inhibition of leaf dark respiration by elevated CO2 is minor in 12 grassland species.  New Phytologist 150: 419-424.

Reviewed 10 March 2004