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Environ Pollut. 1997;96(1):43-59.

Effects of elevated CO2, nitrogen supply and tropospheric ozone on spring wheat-II. Nutrients (N, P, K, S, Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, Zn).

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  • 1Institut für Pflanzenökologie, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 38, D-35392, Giessen, Germany.


CO(2) enrichment is expected to alter leaf demand for nitrogen and phosphorus in plant species with C(3) carbon dioxide fixation pathway, thus possibly causing nutrient imbalances in the tissues and disturbance of distribution and redistribution patterns within the plants. To test the influence of CO(2) enrichment and elevated tropospheric ozone in combination with different nitrogen supply, spring wheat (Tritium aestivum L. cv. Minaret) was exposed to three levels of CO(2) (361, 523, and 639 microl litre(-1), 24 h mean from sowing to final harvest), two levels of ozone (28.4 and 51.3 nl litre(-1)) and two levels of nitrogen supply (150 and 270 kg ha(-1)) in a full-factorial design in open-top field chambers. Additional fertilization experiments (120, 210, and 330 kg N ha(-1)) were carried out at low and high CO(2) levels. Macronutrients (N, P, K, S, Ca, Mg) and three micronutrients (Mn, Fe, Zn) were analysed in samples obtained at three different developmental stages: beginning of shoot elongation, anthesis, and ripening. At each harvest, plant samples were separated into different organs (green and senescent leaves, stem sections, ears, grains). According to analyses of tissue concentrations at the beginning of shoot elongation, the plants were sufficiently equipped with nutrients. Elevated ozone levels neither affected tissue concentrations nor shoot uptake of the nutrients. CO(2) and nitrogen treatments affected nutrient uptake, distribution and redistribution in a complex manner. CO(2) enrichment increased nitrogen-use efficiency and caused a lower demand for nitrogen in green tissues which was reflected in a decrease of critical nitrogen concentrations, lower leaf nitrogen concentrations and lower nitrogen pools in the leaves. Since grain nitrogen uptake during grain filling depended completely on redistribution from vegetative pools in green tissues, grain nitrogen concentrations fell considerably with severe implications for grain quality. Ca, S, Mg and Zn in green tissues were influenced by CO(2) enrichment in a similar manner to nitrogen. Phosphorus concentrations in green tissues, on the other hand, were not, or only slightly, affected by elevated CO(2). In stems, 'dilution' of all nutrients except manganese was observed, caused by the huge accumulation of water soluble carbohydrates, mainly fructans, in these tissues under CO(2) enrichment. Whole shoot uptake was either remarkably increased (K, Mn, P, Mg), nearly unaffected (N, S, Fe, Zn) or decreased (Ca) under CO(2) enrichment. Thus, nutrient cycling in plant-soil systems is expected to be altered under CO(2) enrichment.

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