Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems

A Quantitative-Analysis of Dark Respiration and Carbon Content as Factors in the Growth-Response of Plants to Elevated CO2

H Poorter, RM Gifford, PE Kriedemann and SC Wong

Australian Journal of Botany 40(5) 501 - 513
Published: 1992


An analysis of elevated CO2 effects (2-4 times ambient) on dark respiration rate and carbon content was undertaken for a wide range of plant species, using both published reports and new data. On average, leaf respiration per unit leaf area was slightly higher for plants grown at high CO2 (16%), whereas a small decrease was found when respiration was expressed on a leaf weight basis (14%). For the few data on root respiration, no significant change due to high CO2 could be detected. Carbon content of leaves and stem showed a small increase (1.2 and 1.7% respectively), whereas C-content of roots was not significantly affected. In both data sets direction of responses was variable. A sensitivity analysis of carbon budgets under elevated CO2 identified changes in respiration rate, and to a lesser extent carbon content, as important factors affecting the growth response to elevated CO2 in quite a number of cases. Any comprehensive analysis of growth responses to increased CO2 should therefore include measurements of these two variables.

© CSIRO 1992

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