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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Fitzgerald Booker
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Agricultural Research Nov/Dec 2009 cover story: Soybean and wheat response to climate change
Plant physiologists Kent Burkey (left) and Fitzgerald Booker collect soybean leaf samples in open-top field chambers for analysis of the effects of elevated carbon dioxide and ozone on plant chemistry.

Soybean and Wheat Response to Climate Change
Agricultural Research Magazine, Nov/Dec 2009

My laboratory is replicating some effects of climate change to see what the future holds for soybeans, wheat and the soils where they grow. 

We are using open-top chambers to expose soybean and wheat to levels of carbon dioxide and ozone that may be reached by the year 2050.  Besides assessing the effects of future air concentrations on both crops, we are conducting a 5+ year project to determine how soil quality and carbon sequestration may be affected by plant responses to the two gases. 

Preliminary results show just slightly higher levels of soil carbon in chambers with elevated carbon dioxide and in chambers with elevated levels of both carbon dioxide and ozone, but not in chambers with elevated ozone alone. In this type of cropping system, elevated carbon dioxide may stimulate soil decomposition processes and slow the rates of carbon accumulation in the soil.

Elevating carbon dioxide also reduced flour protein levels in wheat by 7 to 11 percent, but soybean protein concentrations were maintained because of soybeans’ ability to acquire the nutrient, nitrogen, from the air.

Fitzgerald Booker prepares to place an optical scanner in a tube in the soil to obtain pictures of roots  Climate Change/Air Quality Project - Plant Science Research Unit

Ozone effects on plants

Monitoring ground-level ozone from space
Agricultural Research Magazine, August 2011

Breeding Plants for a High-Ozone World
Agicultural Research Magazine, July 2011.


Last Modified: 3/17/2012