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Mechanisms underlying the amelioration of O3-induced damage by elevated atmospheric concentrations of CO2

Lookup NU author(s): Dr John Ollerenshaw, Emeritus Professor Jerry Barnes


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There is growing evidence that rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations will reduce or prevent reductions in the growth and productivity of C3 crops attributable to ozone (O3) pollution. In this study, the role of pollutant exclusion in mediating this response was investigated through growth chamber-based investigations on leaves 4 and 7 of spring wheat (Triticum aestivum cv. Hanno). In the core experiments, plants were raised at two atmospheric CO2 concentrations (ambient [350 μl l-1] or elevated CO2 [700 μl l-1] under two O3 regimes (charcoal/Purafil®-filtered air [<5 nl l-1 O3] or ozone-enriched air [75 nl l-1 7 h d-1]). A subsequent experiment used an additional O3 treatment where the goal was to achieve equivalent daily O3 uptake over the life-span of leaves 4 and 7 under ambient and CO2-enriched conditions, through daily adjustment of exposures based on measured shifts in stomatal conductance. Plant growth and net CO2 assimilation were stimulated by CO2-enrichment and reduced by exposure to O 3. However, the impacts of O3 decreased with plant age (i.e. leaf 7 was more resistant to O3 injury than leaf 4); a finding consistent with ontogenic shifts in the tolerance of plant tissue and/or acclimation to O3-induced oxidative stress. In the combined treatment, elevated CO2 protected against the adverse effects of O3 and reduced cumulative O3 uptake (calculated from measurements of stomatal conductance) by c. 10% and 35% over the life-span of leaves 4 and 7, respectively. Analysis of the relationship between O 3 uptake and the decline in the maximum in vivo rate of Rubisco carboxylation (Vcmax) revealed the protection afforded by CO 2-enrichment to be due, to a large extent, to the exclusion of the pollutant from the leaf interior (as a consequence of the decline in stomatal conductance triggered by CO2-enrichment), but there was evidence (especially from flux-response relationships constructed for leaf 4) that CO2-enrichment resulted in additional effects that alleviated the impacts of ozone-induced oxidative stress on photosynthesis.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cardoso-Vilhena J, Balaguer L, Eamus D, Ollerenshaw J, Barnes J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Experimental Botany

Year: 2004

Volume: 55

Issue: 397

Pages: 771-781

ISSN (print): 0022-0957

ISSN (electronic): 1460-2431

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erh080

PubMed id: 14966219


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