Elevated [CO2] (eCO2) has a negative impact on key physiological mechanisms of nutrient acquisition and assimilation in C3 plants. The reasons are largely unknown.

eCO2 particularly lowers nitrogen content of plants tissues, possibly through specific inhibition of nitrate uptake and assimilation.

The altered nutrient status of plants grown at eCO2 is one likely cause of the acclimation of photosynthesis to eCO2 that prevents full stimulation of biomass production in response to ‘CO2 fertilization’.

The high natural genetic variability of the eCO2 impact on plant nutrient status can be exploited as a promising strategy to breed future crops better adapted to a high-CO2 world.

Figure: Nitrate uptake and assimilation systems in plants are deregulated under conditions of growth under elevated atmospheric CO2, which can lead to a decrease in plant N content. The signaling and regulatory mechanisms associated with this negative effect are still largely unknown.

[ Read the paper ]