Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology

Yield Responses of Two Wheat Genotypes to Carbon Dioxide and Temperature in Field Studies Using Temperature Gradient Tunnels

HM Rawson

Australian Journal of Plant Physiology 22(1) 23 - 32
Published: 1995


Clear, plastic-coated, temperature gradient tunnels (TGTs), 8 × 1.25 × 1-25 m were designed and built to examine how temperature and CO2 affect the yield of wheat in the field. Each of the three modules of each TGT was maintained at a different temperature above the ambient temperature using solar heating during the day and electric heating at night. The maximum day-time increment above ambient for the warmest module was 5ºC and full-season averages were close to 2ºC. TGTs were paired, with air in one being enriched to 700 μL L-1 CO2, and in the other being maintained at ambient CO2. Crops were planted in the TGTs at two sites in either summer (December) or winter (April and July) and they remained there until maturity. CO2 enrichment increased the yield in summer plantings by up to 36%. In winter plantings, with mean temperatures between sowing and anthesis of around lVC, the responses to CO2 were small averaging only 7% (range 1-12%). Though yield declined with increasing temperature in the TGTs in summer, there was a clear trend for an increasing response to CO2 at these higher temperatures, i.e. yield declined less. In summer, there was no convincing evidence for a different relative response to CO2 in two isolines which differed in maturity date, though the later line yielded more under the highest temperature regime (mean of 22-24ºC between sowing and anthesis). In winter there was a strong trend for the isoline requiring less vernalisation to respond more to CO2. It is suggested that early progress towards flowering might predispose wheat to a greater CO2 response. Overall, the data indicated that the positive response to CO2 in grain yield is likely to increase at approximately 1.8% per 1°C in wheat crops that are not limited by water. Extrapolation indicated that the temperature at which there was no response to CO2 was 5ºC. All yield responses reflected biomass responses as harvest index was unchanged by CO2

© CSIRO 1995

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