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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPACTS OF RISING ATMOSPHERIC CARBON DIOXIDE AND TEMPERATURE ON CROP GROWTH, REPRODUCTIVE PROCESSES, YIELD, AND SEED QUALITY

Location: Chemistry Research Unit

Title: Impact of elevated carbon dioxide and temperature on growth and sugar yield of the C4 sugarcane

Authors
item Allen, Leon
item Vu, Joseph
item Anderson, Joan
item Ray, Jeffery

Submitted to: Current Topics in Plant Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 6, 2011
Publication Date: September 15, 2011
Citation: Allen Jr, L.H., Vu, J.C., Anderson, J.C., Ray, J.D. 2011. Impact of elevated carbon dioxide and temperature on growth and sugar yield of the C4 sugarcane. Current Topics in Plant Biology. 12:171-178.

Interpretive Summary: Research on rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and climate changes has primarily focused on C3 crops such as rice and soybean. Few tests have been done on C4 crops such as maize and sugarcane. In this study, USDA-ARS scientists of the Chemistry Research Unit in Gainesville, FL and Crop Genetics Research Unit in Stoneville, MS studied the effects of CO2 enrichment and high temperature on growth of four cultivars of sugarcane. The results show that doubling CO2 would benefit sugarcane productivity more than the anticipated 10% increase for a C4 species. Doubled CO2 increased the following plant growth components: leaf number, 7%; leaf area, 15%; leaf fresh weight, 13%; main stem fresh weight, 31%; total plant fresh weight, 25%; juice volume, 40%. Increasing temperatures caused a slight downward trend in sugarcane yield regardless of cultivar or CO2 treatment. The increases in sugarcane biomass and stem juice at doubled CO2 indicate greater yields as global atmospheric CO2 continues to rise. Particularly, the production of stem juice and stem sugar appeared to respond more to CO2 enrichment than did the plant biomass. This important finding would mean that productivity of the C4 sugarcane should be enhanced by future rises in atmospheric CO2.

Technical Abstract: Four cultivars of sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L. cv. CP72-2086, CP73-1547, CP88-1508, CP80-2086) were grown in sunlit temperature-gradient greenhouses under [CO2] of 360 (ambient) and 710 (double-ambient) µmol/mol (air) and at temperatures up to 6.0C higher than outside ambient temperature. Doubled [CO2] increased the following components of plant growth of the first final harvest: leaf number, 7%; leaf area, 15%; leaf fresh weight, 13%; leaf dry weight, 8%; mainstem length, 32%; main stem fresh weight, 31%; main stem dry weight, 23%; total above-ground plant fresh weight, 25%; total above-ground plant dry weight, 21%; stem juice volume, 40%; stem juice dry weight 36%. Increasing temperatures caused a slight downward trend in sugarcane yield regardless of cultivar or CO2 treatment. Doubling [CO2] appeared to benefit sugarcane productivity more than the anticipated 10% increase for a C4 species. The apparent increases in sugarcane biomass and juice indicate greater yields as global atmospheric [CO2] continues to rise. Particularly, the production of stem juice and stem sugar appeared to respond more to CO2 enrichment than did plant biomass. Thus, the productivity of the C4 sugarcane should be enhanced by future rises in atmospheric [CO2].

Last Modified: 9/2/2014
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