Effects of sustained elevated CO₂ concentration on two cultivars of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.)

Siphungu, Mashudu Victor (1997) Effects of sustained elevated CO₂ concentration on two cultivars of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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The enormous burning of fossil fuel and deforestation have caused an increase in the atmospheric CO₂ concentration ([CO₂]) during the last century. This will invariably have profound direct and indirect effects on plant carbon metabolism. The majority of research on the effects of CO₂ enrichment on plants are short-term and are done on other crops, but very little have been done on barley. This project aimed to determine the effects of long-term CO₂ enrichment on photosynthesis, growth and grain yield on barley. Hordeum vulgare L. cvs Stirling and Schooner plants were grown from seeds in controlled environment chambers at ambient (350) and elevated (600) μmol molˉ¹ [CO₂]. Measurements of net assimilation rate (NAR), photosynthetic pigments content and growth parameters were started 7 days after germination (DAG) and continued until senescence. The anatomy of matured fully developed leaves was also monitored. Elevated [CO₂l resulted in an increase in NAR in the two cultivars from days 7 until 14, after which the stimulation of NAR of CO₂-enriched plants started to decrease. At the onset of senescence, NAR was almost equal in plants grown under both ambient and elevated [CO₂]. The response of assimilation as a function of internal [CO₂l (C₁) at the end of the experimental period showed a significant decrease in both the initial slope of the A/C₁ curves and the CO₂-saturated photosynthetic rates in the two cultivars. Stirling showed no significant changes in the content of chlorophyll α,chlorophyll б or in total carotenoids. However, Schooner showed a stimulation in chlorophyll α content at day 7, but decreased at day 28. Chlorophyll б and total carotenoids content were not affected by CO₂ enrichment. While total above-ground biomass was not affected by elevated [CO₂] in the two cultivars, total plant height decreased significantly after 14 days in Stirling whereas no significant change occurred in Schooner throughout the experimental period. Leaf area was not significantly affected by CO₂ enrichment in the two cultivars although the leaves in CO₂ enriched plants were slightly shorter. Anatomical studies reveal that leaf thickness was significantly increased by CO₂ enrichment in Stirling, but the increase was not significant in Schooner. Both cultivars did not show any significant effect on chloroplast morphology and ultrastructure as a consequence of elevated CO₂ exposure. No signs of starch accumulation were evident in variety Schooner, but Stirling showed some form of starch accumulation, under increased atmospheric [CO₂]. Elevated CO₂ resulted in a significant reduction by more than 50 % in the number of grain yield per plant in both Stirling and Schooner. Results from this study therefore indicate that CO₂ enrichment will not be beneficial in terms of growth and yield in this important crop.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:CO₂, Carbon dioxide, Barley, Photosyntheses
Subjects:Q Science > QK Botany
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Botany
Supervisors:Botha, C.E.J.
ID Code:3931
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:01 Nov 2012 13:22
Last Modified:01 Nov 2012 13:22
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