High Carbon Dioxide Boosts Plant Respiration and may Affect Crop Growth by Michael L.

Soy FACEHigh CO2 Boosts Plant Respiration and Could Affect Our Climate and Crops

On February 9th, 2009, an article was published about how carbon dioxide levels can affect crops.  As follows is the summary of the article.

Plants draw CO2 from the atmosphere and make sugars from it to heal themselves and increase growth.  This process is called photosynthesis.  As CO2 increases in the atmosphere, plants can draw more from the atmosphere to increase their growth even further.  During this process though, they also release CO2.  Many studies argue that increased CO2 levels decrease plant photosynthesis, though.  In contrast, many studies show that CO2 increases the photosynthesis.   While there is agreement that CO2 increases the stimulus of photosynthesis in C3 plants such as soybeans, no consensus agrees that it would increase respiration (output of CO2).  A team at the University of Illonois used  microarrays, a genomic tool that can detect changes in the activity of thousands of genes at a time, to determine if their high CO2 plants acted differently to the current CO2 plants.  Some of the plants were exposed to 550 ppm of  CO2 (the amount predicted in 2050) and others were exposed to ambient levels of 380 ppm.  Under their studies, the rate of respiration increased by 37%, meaning that photosynthesis speeded up a plethora.  The advanced respiration is likely to transport more sugars to other parts of the plant, like the seed and leaves, making   it regrow faster every new year.  In all, the studies show that food supplies will increase and will produce better performing crops in the future. 

Discussion Questions

1.   What are the predicted levels of CO2 going to be in 2050 and how would that affect crops?

2.   What is the process of photosynthesis? What does it do for the plant?  How will it affect respiration levels in the future?

Article from http://www.physorg.com/news153422058.html

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~ by Student Entry on February 13, 2009.

11 Responses to “High Carbon Dioxide Boosts Plant Respiration and may Affect Crop Growth by Michael L.”

  1. First of all, I would like to say that Michael did an excellent job for one of the first blog articles. The summary had enough details to explain what was going on clearly. I would like to leave a response for his first discussion question.

    The levels of C02 for 2050 are expected to be 550ppm. This is a high amount and could be good or bad for photosynthesis. Some say that the C02 demotes photosynthesis while others think it helps the plants because it improves the photosynthesis amount. A good thing about this is that tests were taken and proved that higher ppm levels made the photosynthesis more effective. These high C02 levels look like they could be good by enabling us to sell more organic food but there could easily be a drawback.

    This was a very good article and discussion question.

    Remember, every action has an equal and common reaction.

  2. I do not get why some scientists think that high C02 levels are coming from plants. Because plants exhale C02, wouldn’t plants have a part (and of course humans) in the extremely high C02 levels?(It is common sense)!! I know that humans have their own carbon foot print (unfortunately) but plants are the other factory this problem. I just want to know why those scientists thought that was not true.

  3. I disagree with Emma. plants only release a little bit of CO2. They also have someone to clean up after them, trees. Trees can remove CO2 from the air and pump out oxygen. People release more Co2 than what trees can cope with. We also release other green house gases, like methane which plants don’t do anything about at all. If plants released as much CO2 as we do, the earth would be so messed up that we wouldn’t even be here. Plants as I mentioned earlier clean up after themselves with trees. Who cleans up after people? Can you answer that question? I can’t, there isn’t anyone or anything.

  4. Hi
    You all are generating great discussions and ideas. In reviewing the previous posts I thought I would add some info to think about and clarify some ideas….ok here goes:
    Eukaryotic organisms (plants, animals, fungi, protists) all release CO2 during cellular respiration (break down of food at the cellular level) Some Eukaryotes photosynthesize- the process through which carbohydrates (sugars) are formed. This process (in many cases) uses CO2 from the air as a primary ingredient. So plants both produce CO2 during respiration and take in CO2 during Photosynthesis. The problem right now (since the beginning of the industrial revolution) is that humans are producing levels of CO2 at a higher rate than has previously been the case on the planet. Every time you burn something that contains carbon (including gas, oil, wood, etc) you release CO2. The more you burn the more you release. Half, maybe more, of the CO2 released is absorbed by the Ocean. Some is absorbed by phytoplankton but even more is dissolved in the water itself. On land Atmospheric CO2 actually acts kind of like a fertilizer for plants but in the water, CO2 actually acidifies water which could have a negative impact on phytoplankton. So….since so much of the CO2 is absorbed in the ocean it could ultimately have an impact on phytoplankton whic would have ramifications through out the food web…..which by the way would totally mess up that Jeter Fishing trip!

    Keep up the great conversations
    Mr. Bortnick
    K-12 Science Supervisor
    Scotch Plains Fanwood School District
    Evergreen Avenue and Cedar Street
    Scotch Plains, NJ 07076
    sbortnick@spfk12.org

  5. Hey thanks to all of you guys and girls. Emma I think you put up a good arguement and Ashwin you countered it well too. Special thanks to Mr. Bortnick because he is such an important man to take time to read my article. Thank you to everybody who commented. KEEP IT UP!! From, Michael L.

  6. wait, I have a question….. The plants caused the high carbon dioxide boots? and if so how?

  7. wow michael that was really really good! i didn’t know that plants draw C02 from the automoshere and make sugars from it to heal themselves! thats cool. nice job! oh did your brother david post a story? get back to me asap when you find out hanks!

  8. Great job Michael! That was a very interesting and informative article. I’m going to answer question 1 and 2. In 2050, there will be 550ppm of co2. This will help the plants regrow faster, and they would end up healthier. It would create more sugars and nutrients for the plants to absorb, but could lead to eutrophication.
    Photosynthesis is the process of transporting sunlight into energy for plants I think. It will speed up respiration rates, but it could have after effects that might not be too good for the plants. Again, nice job Michael! I look forward o seeing more great articles.

  9. Wow that was really amazing i learned allot keep up the good work!

  10. Michael, I loved your article! It was really well written. I was captivated the entire time. I’m extremely concerned, and very obsessed, with our environment, which is why your article specifically caught my attention. The fact that you related the concept of plants and photosynthesis to a global level was very interesting as well. Great, clear details too! I really liked the way you contradicted people, like myself I’ll admit, and made us think for a moment about how things like global warming could possibly help our planet, even if it’s for the somewhat selfish needs of humans. The fact that this could positively impact humankind was a great arguing point, and makes many reconsider their personal disagreements.

  11. I will answer question 1. The predicted levels of CO2 in 2050 is 550 and 380 ppm. It affected the crops by the rate of respiration increased by 37%.

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