Influence of root-bed size on the response of tobacco to elevated CO 2 as mediated by cytokinins

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Abstract

The extent of growth stimulation of C-3 plants by elevated CO2 is modulated by environmental factors. Under optimized environmental conditions (high light, continuous water and nutrient supply, and others), we analysed the effect of an elevated CO2 atmosphere (700 ppm, EC) and the importance of root-bed size on the growth of tobacco. Biomass production was consistently higher under EC. However, the stimulation was overridden by root-bed volumes that restricted root growth. Maximum growth and biomass production were obtained at a root bed of 15 L at ambient and elevated CO2 concentrations. Starting with seed germination, the plants were strictly maintained under ambient or elevated CO2 until flowering. Thus, the well-known acclimation effect of growth to enhanced CO2 did not occur. The relative growth rates of EC plants exceeded those of ambient-CO2 plants only during the initial phases of germination and seedling establishment. This was sufficient for a persistently higher absolute biomass production by EC plants in non-limiting root-bed volumes. Both the size of the root bed and the CO2 concentration influenced the quantitative cytokinin patterns, particularly in the meristematic tissues of shoots, but to a smaller extent in stems, leaves and roots. In spite of the generally low cytokinin concentrations in roots, the amounts of cytokinins moving from the root to the shoot were substantially higher in high-CO2 plants. Because the cytokinin patterns of the (xylem) fluid in the stems did not match those of the shoot meristems, it is assumed that cytokinins as long-distance signals from the roots stimulate meristematic activity in the shoot apex and the sink leaves. Subsequently, the meristems are able to synthesize those phytohormones that are required for the cell cycle. Root-borne cytokinins entering the shoot appear to be one of the major control points for the integration of various environmental cues into one signal for optimized growth.

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Schaz, U., Düll, B., Reinbothe, C., & Beck, E. (2014). Influence of root-bed size on the response of tobacco to elevated CO 2 as mediated by cytokinins. AoB PLANTS, 6. https://doi.org/10.1093/aobpla/plu010

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