Impacts of elevated CO2 on plant resistance to nutrient deficiency and toxic ions via root exudates: a review Academic Article uri icon


  • Elevated atmospheric CO2 (eCO2) concentration can increase root exudation into soils, which improves plant tolerance to abiotic stresses. This review used a meta-analysis to assess effect sizes of eCO2 on both efflux rates and total amounts of some specific root exudates, and dissected whether eCO2 enhances plant's resistance to nutrient deficiency and ion toxicity via root exudates. Elevated CO2 did not affect efflux rates of total dissolved organic carbon, a measure of combined root exudates per unit of root biomass or length, but increased the efflux amount of root systems per plant by 31% which is likely attributed to increased root biomass (29%). Elevated CO2 increased efflux rates of soluble-sugars, carboxylates, and citrate by 47%, 111%, and 16%, respectively, but did not affect those of amino acids and malate. The increased carbon allocation to roots, increased plant requirements of mineral nutrients, and heightened detoxification responses to toxic ions under eCO2 collectively contribute to the increased efflux rates despite lacking molecular evidence. The increased efflux rates of root exudates under eCO2 were closely associated with improved nutrient uptake whilst less studies have validated the associations between root exudates and resistance to toxic ions of plants when grown under eCO2. Future studies are required to reveal how climate change (eCO2) affect the efflux of specific root exudates, particularly organic anions, the corresponding nutrient uptake and toxic ion resistance from plant molecular biology and soil microbial ecology perspectives.

publication date

  • 2021