Carbon Di Oxide Fertilization: Effects on Plant Productivity

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Supriya Tiwari
N. K. Dubey


Increasing Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important component of global climate change that has drawn the attention of environmentalists worldwide in the last few decades. Besides acting as an important greenhouse gas, it also produces a stimulatory effect, its instantaneous impact being a significant increase in the plant productivity. Atmospheric CO2 levels have linearly increased from approximately 280 parts per million (ppm) during pre-industrial times to the current level of more than 390 ppm. In past few years, anthropogenic activities led to a rapid increase in global CO2 concentration. Current Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projection indicates that atmospheric CO2 concentration will increase over this century, reaching 730-1020 ppm by 2100. An increase in global temperature, ranging from 1.1 to 6.4oC depending on global emission scenarios, will accompany the rise in atmospheric CO2. As CO2 acts as a limiting factor in photosynthesis, the immediate effect of increasing atmospheric CO2 is improved plant productivity, a feature commonly termed as “CO2 fertilization”. Variability in crop responses to the elevated CO2 made the agricultural productivity and food security vulnerable to the climate change. Several studies have shown significant CO2 fertilization effect on crop growth and yield. An increase of 30 % in plant growth and yield has been reported when CO2 concentration has been doubled from 330 to 660 ppm. However, the fertilization effect of elevated CO2 is not very much effective in case of C4 plants which already contain a CO2 concentration mechanism, owing to their specific leaf 2 anatomy called kranz anatomy. As a result, yield increments observed in C4plants are comparatively lower than the C3 plants under similar elevated CO2 concentrations. This review discusses the trends and the causes of increasing CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, its effects on the crop productivity and the discrepancies in the response of C3 and C4 plants to increasing CO2 concentrations.

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Tiwari S, Dubey N. Carbon Di Oxide Fertilization: Effects on Plant Productivity. IJPE [Internet]. 31Jul.2017 [cited 11Apr.2021];3(02):73-7. Available from:
Review Article