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Ecology. 2012 Feb;93(2):355-67.

CO2 enrichment inhibits shoot nitrate assimilation in C3 but not C4 plants and slows growth under nitrate in C3 plants.

Author information

1
Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA. ajbloom@ucdavis.edu

Abstract

The CO2 concentration in Earth's atmosphere may double during this century. Plant responses to such an increase depend strongly on their nitrogen status, but the reasons have been uncertain. Here, we assessed shoot nitrate assimilation into amino acids via the shift in shoot CO2 and O2 fluxes when plants received nitrate instead of ammonium as a nitrogen source (deltaAQ). Shoot nitrate assimilation became negligible with increasing CO2 in a taxonomically diverse group of eight C3 plant species, was relatively insensitive to CO2 in three C4 species, and showed an intermediate sensitivity in two C3-C4 intermediate species. We then examined the influence of CO2 level and ammonium vs. nitrate nutrition on growth, assessed in terms of changes in fresh mass, of several C3 species and a Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) species. Elevated CO2 (720 micromol CO2/mol of all gases present) stimulated growth or had no effect in the five C3 species tested when they received ammonium as a nitrogen source but inhibited growth or had no effect if they received nitrate. Under nitrate, two C3 species grew faster at sub-ambient (approximately 310 micromol/mol) than elevated CO2. A CAM species grew faster at ambient than elevated or sub-ambient CO2 under either ammonium or nitrate nutrition. This study establishes that CO2 enrichment inhibits shoot nitrate assimilation in a wide variety of C3 plants and that this phenomenon can have a profound effect on their growth. This indicates that shoot nitrate assimilation provides an important contribution to the nitrate assimilation of an entire C3 plant. Thus, rising CO2 and its effects on shoot nitrate assimilation may influence the distribution of C3 plant species.

PMID:
22624317
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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