CO2 Enrichment of a Highly-Prized Chinese Medicinal Herb
Hao, X., Li, P., Feng, Y., Han, X., Gao, J., Lin, E. and Han, Y. 2013. Effects of fully open-air [CO2] elevation on leaf photosynthesis and ultrastructure of Isatis indigotica Fort. PLOS ONE 8: e74600.
With this information in mind, while working at a Free-Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) facility located in Changping, Beijing, China, Hao et al. measured a number of physical and physiological properties of I. indigotica plants grown from seed in pots filled with a clay loam soil and at atmospheric CO2 concentrations of either 411 ppm (ambient) or 550 ppm (elevated) under well-watered and fertilized conditions for a period of 84 days, after which root adenosine contents were extracted and assessed. The seven Chinese scientists report the net photosynthesis rates of fully-expanded upper leaves at 36, 53, and 84 days after planting were increased, respectively, by 13.1, 22.8, and 27.1%, while plant water use efficiencies were increased by 1.3, 28.9, and 20.7%, with the end result that total weight per plant was enhanced by 8.8% in the elevated CO2 treatment. However, they go on to say "elevated CO2 increased the weight of root per plant by 17.4%," which for a 300-ppm increase in the air's CO2 concentration would translate into to an increase of 37.6% for the root-derived adenosine. Thus, as the air's CO2 content rises, the abundance of health-promoting adenosine derived from the roots of the Chinese Woad plant should grow right along with it, to the benefit of many people with a number of different health problems.
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