Improved Potato Plant Growth and Yield Under Elevated CO2

Paper Reviewed
Ahmadi Lahijani, M.J., Kafi, M., Nezami, A., Nabati, J. and Erwin, J.E. 2019. Effect of CO2 enrichment on gas exchanges, biochemical traits, and minituber yield in potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) cultivars. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology 21: 883-894.

Potato (Solanum tuberosum) is the fourth most important crop globally with an annual production nearing 400 million tons. Yet much remains to be learned with respect to how this key agricultural species will respond to rising concentrations of atmospheric CO2 in the future.

Hoping to provide some insight in this regard, Ahmadi Lahijani et al. (2019) grew two potato cultivars (Agria and Fontane) in controlled-environment chambers at Ferdowsi University of Mashad, Islamic Republic of Iran under either ambient (400 ppm) or elevated (800 ppm) CO2 over a full growing season. Specifically, they desired to learn how elevated CO2 might impact certain physiological and biochemical traits, minituber production and dry matter parameters.

Measures of net photosynthesis take at one and two months after the start of the experiment revealed a CO2-induced stimulated of this parameter by a respective 51% and 12% in Fontane and 104% and 84% in Agria cultivars. Biochemical analyses also take at the end of the first and second month of the experiment revealed elevated CO2 increase the starch content in both cultivars but had no significant impact on soluble sugars.

With respect to changes in growth-related parameters, based on data presented in the authors’ Table 5, it was determined that elevated CO2 increase the dry matter of the leaf, stem, shoot, root, tuber and total plant by 29%, 28%, 28%, 37%, 166% and 50% for the Agria cultivar, respectively, and by 37%, 55%, 42%, 65%, 77% and 60%, respectively, for Fontane. Such positive findings also revealed an increase partitioning of dry matter in the underground parts of the plants, especially in the tubers, which indeed resulted in “a significant increase in the tuber yield of both cultivars.”

In commenting on these several findings, Ahmadi Lahijani et al. conclude that “raising the levels of CO2 in minituber production systems could be beneficial to stimulate the productivity and tuber yield [of potato plants].”

This article appeared on the CO2 Science website at http://www.co2science.org/articles/V22/nov/a4.php