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Research Project: Strategies to Support Resilient Agricultural Systems of the Southeastern U.S.

Location: Plant Science Research

Title: Impact of elevated ozone on yield and carbon-nitrogen content in soybean cultivar Jake

item Tisdale, Ripley
item Zentella, Rodolfo
item Burkey, Kent

Submitted to: Plant Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/14/2021
Publication Date: 2/18/2021
Publication URL:
Citation: Tisdale, R.H., Zentella Gomez, R., Burkey, K.O. 2021. Impact of elevated ozone on yield and carbon-nitrogen content in soybean cultivar Jake. Plant Science.

Interpretive Summary: Ozone pollution is a major environmental threat to the US economy and its food security. Soybean is one of the US’ major staple crops, an export valued at $18.7 billion. However, soybean production has come under ozone threat, with an estimated annual yield reduction of more than 12%. To confront this environmental challenge, optimize crop yields, and thereby maintain food sources for a growing US and global population, breeders and plant researchers are working to develop crops able to withstand environmental stresses. In this study, USDA-ARS PSRU scientists in Raleigh, North Carolina report ozone-related plant responses, including final yield when high-yield soybean cultivar Jake was fumigated with elevated ozone to concentrations similar to those estimated to be reached by the middle of the 21st century. The results show that the Jake cultivar possesses the developmental strength to retain nitrogen and carbon sources to maintain growth, only showing a 15% yield loss under chronic ozone conditions. This finding provides evidence that the Jake cultivar will prove suitable breeding material for a generation of new ozone tolerant lines.

Technical Abstract: Tropospheric ozone (O3) pollutant leads to significant global soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] yield loss. To ensure soybean productivity in areas of rising O3, it is important to identify tolerant genotypes. This work describes the response of the high-yielding soybean cv. Jake to elevated O3 concentrations. Jake was fumigated with either charcoal-filtered (CF) air or with elevated O3 (8-h maximum average: 99 ppb O3) over the course of the growing season. Under CF air, or under ambient air conditions (8-h maximum average: 42 ppb O3), plants did not exhibit any O3-induced leaf injury. In contrast, elevated O3 caused severe leaf injury and decreased stomatal conductance and photosynthesis. Although elevated O3 reduced total leaf area, leaf number, and plant height at different developmental stages, above-ground and root biomass remained unchanged during Jake development. Analyzing carbon and nitrogen content, we found that elevated O3 altered allocation of both, which ultimately led to a 15% yield loss by decreasing seed size but not seed number. We concluded that cultivar Jake possesses developmental strength to tolerate chronic O3 conditions, attributes that make it suitable breeding material for the generation of new O3 tolerant lines.