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Title: Ultra-high carbon dioxide applications accelerates plant establishment and growth

item Tisserat, Brent
item Silman, Robert
item Berhow, Mark
item Vaughn, Steven

Submitted to: Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/10/2007
Publication Date: 10/10/2007
Citation: Tisserat, B., Silman, R.W., Berhow, M.A., Vaughn, S.F. 2007. Ultra-high carbon dioxide applications accelerates plant establishment and growth [abstract]. Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops. p. 38.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Typically, in a crop breeding scheme, collected seed crosses are germinated and grown in pots in a greenhouse and/or nursery setting for 3 to 12 months prior to transplanting in the field. Perennial crop breeding, being long-term, are particularly subject to long periods for seedling soil establishment and nursery growth. Decreasing the time required for seedling establishment in soil and improving their subsequent early growth would benefit breeders or propagators. Applications of high CO2 levels ('700 µmol.mol-1 CO2) have been employed to accelerate rooting and overall plant growth in various species. The objective of this study was to determine if various concentrations of CO2 (e.g., 350-30,000 µmol.mol-1 CO2) could improve plant establishment and growth. This study tested both established (sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua L.) and loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) and potential (Osage-Orange (Maclura pomifera) perennial tree crops and a potential herbaceous crop (Cuphea (C. lanceolata x C. viscosissima)) in ultra-high CO2 environments. Two-week old Cuphea, loblolly pine and Osage-Orange seedlings were exposed to 350, 1,500, 3,000, 10,000, or 30,000 µmol.mol-1 CO2 for 30 days within transparent test chambers under greenhouse conditions. CO2 concentrations were attained through mixing compressed air and CO2 via a flow meter and administered during the daylight photoperiod. Single one and two-cm long sterile Sweetgum shoots derived from proliferating axillary shoot clumps were exposed to a non-sterile environment, employing the several CO2 levels for 30 days. Average daily temperature was 25 deg C and illumination was provided by natural sunlight. At the end of the test period, seedlings and shoots were examined for survival, fresh weight, leaf number, and root number. All seedlings benefited from ultra-high CO2 treatments compared to ambient air (350 µmol.mol-1 CO2) controls. However, the increased rate of growth response varied among the different species tested. For example, fresh weight of Osage-Orange seedlings increased 130% when given 10,000 µmol.mol-1 CO2 over controls. Short-term treatments with ultra-high CO2 has merit to improve plant growth responses and speed the overall growth process in both trees and herbaceous crops.