Special Issue "Impact of CO2 Concentration and Enrichment on Crops"
A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2017)
In the face of climate change there is considerable uncertainty in the development of future global crop yields with model estimations ranging from negative (>10%) to strong positive (> 15%) effects in ca. 2050, as compared to the present situation. The largest uncertainty in these estimations results from the rapid increase of the global atmospheric CO2 concentration. Elevated concentrations of atmospheric CO2 (e[CO2]) are known to directly impact on agricultural crops as e[CO2] stimulates photosynthesis of C3 plants and reduces leaf transpiration of C3 and C4 plants. These physiological effects at the leaf level may translate into enhanced crop growth and yield (CO2 fertilization) and may affect agroecosystem properties. Moreover, alongside the enhanced growth, plants under e[CO2] frequently show changes in their chemical composition, an effect that has been discussed to be a threat for future food and feed quality. However, to which extent these effects will be realized at the farm level remains highly uncertain.
In last few decades, a plethora of studies have addressed e[CO2] effects on plant growth, including important crop species. The majority of these studies focused on e[CO2] effects alone, and were carried out under more-or-less artificial growth conditions. With respect to growth and yield highly variable results were obtained in these studies, which may be attributed to the various factors (e.g., light and temperature conditions, crop genotype, etc.) that differed between the studies. Despite this information and with respect to the agronomic implications of e[CO2] and overall climate change effects, we still lack a better understanding of many open questions. For example, why crop photosynthesis stimulation is mostly not matched by the respective yield enhancement, if and to what extent crop nutrient supply (particularly N and P fertilization) determine the size of the e[CO2] effect, in which way future elevated temperatures and heat stress, respectively, interact with e[CO2] effects, if drought stress mitigation by e[CO2] is a unique phenomenon with all C3 crops, if genotype differences in the e[CO2] response can be exploited by plant breeding to optimize the CO2 fertilization, if and to what extent crop pathogens interact with e[CO2], what mechanisms are responsible for the e[CO2] induced changes of the plant’s tissue element stoichiometry and, last not least, to what extent we can compare e[CO2] effects from growth chamber with field studies like free air CO2 enrichment (FACE).
This Special Issue invites papers that focus on “CO2 Enrichment Effects on Crop Plants” (arable crops, grassland, horticultural crops). We welcome new research results, review articles, and opinion papers that cover related topics in the fields of plant physiology, crop yield and yield quality, agroecosystem effects, including soil and plant health responses. Particularly we are interested in research addressing interactions of e[CO2] with overall climate change effects and with crop management factors, as well as crop genetics and plant breeding and crop modeling.
Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Weigel
Manuscript Submission Information
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- Climate change
- CO2 fertilization
- crop yields
- food quality
- interactive effects
The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.
Author: James A. Bunce
Affiliation: Crop Systems and Global Change Laboratory, USDA-ARS, Beltsville MD, USA.
Abstract: Because of continuing increases in atmospheric CO2, identifying cultivars of crops with larger yield increases at elevated CO2 may provide an avenue to increase crop yield potential in future climates. Free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) systems have most often been used with multiple replications of each CO2 treatment in order to increase confidence in the effect of elevated CO2. For screening of cultivars for yield increases at elevated CO2, less precision about the CO2 effect, but more precision about cultivar ranking within CO2 treatments is appropriate. As a small scale test of this approach, three plots each of four cultivars of wheat were grown in single FACE and control plots over two years, and the cultivar rankings of yield at elevated and ambient CO2 were compared. Each replicate plot was the size used in traditional cultivar comparisons. An additional test using four smaller replicate plots per cultivar within one FACE and one ambient plot was used to compare nine cultivars in another year. In all cases, elevated CO2 altered the ranking of cultivars for yield. This approach may provide a more efficient way to utilize FACE systems for the screening of CO2 responsiveness.