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Environ Pollut. 2001;111(3):479-91.

Effects of elevated carbon dioxide and ozone on the growth and yield of potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) grown in open-top chambers.

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  • 1School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough LE12 5RD, UK.


Potato (Solanum tuberosum cv. Bintje) was grown in open-top chambers under three carbon dioxide (ambient and seasonal mean concentrations of 550 and 680 mumol mol-1 CO2) and two ozone concentrations (ambient and an 8 h day-1 seasonal mean of 50 nmol mol-1 O3) between emergence and final harvest. Periodic non-destructive measurements were made and destructive harvests were carried out at three key developmental stages (24, 49 and 101 days after emergence) to establish effects on growth and tuber yield. Season-long exposure to elevated O3 reduced above-ground dry weight at final harvest by 8.4% (P < 0.05), but did not affect tuber yields. There was no significant interaction between CO2 and O3 for any of the growth and yield variables examined. Non-destructive analyses revealed no significant effect of elevated CO2 on plant height, leaf number or green leaf area ratio. However, destructive harvests at tuber initiation and 500 degrees Cd after emergence showed that above-ground dry weight (8 and 7% respectively) and tuber yield (88 and 44%) were significantly increased (P < 0.05) in the 550 mumol mol-1 CO2 treatment. Responses to 550 and 680 mumol mol-1 CO2 were not significantly different for most parameters examined, suggesting the existence of an upper limit to the beneficial influence of CO2 enrichment. Significant effects on above-ground dry weight and tuber yield were no longer apparent at final harvest, although tuber numbers were increased (P < 0.05) under elevated CO2, particularly in the smaller size categories. The results show that the O3 treatment imposed was insufficient to reduce tuber yields and that, although elevated CO2 enhanced crop growth during the early stages of the season, this beneficial effect was not sustained to maturity.

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