The impact of elevated carbon dioxide on the phosphorus nutrition of plants: a review Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND:Increasing attention is being focused on the influence of rapid increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration on nutrient cycling in ecosystems. An understanding of how elevated CO2 affects plant utilization and acquisition of phosphorus (P) will be critical for P management to maintain ecosystem sustainability in P-deficient regions. SCOPE:This review focuses on the impact of elevated CO2 on plant P demand, utilization in plants and P acquisition from soil. Several knowledge gaps on elevated CO2-P associations are highlighted. CONCLUSIONS:Significant increases in P demand by plants are likely to happen under elevated CO2 due to the stimulation of photosynthesis, and subsequent growth responses. Elevated CO2 alters P acquisition through changes in root morphology and increases in rooting depth. Moreover, the quantity and composition of root exudates are likely to change under elevated CO2, due to the changes in carbon fluxes along the glycolytic pathway and the tricarboxylic acid cycle. As a consequence, these root exudates may lead to P mobilization by the chelation of P from sparingly soluble P complexes, by the alteration of the biochemical environment and by changes to microbial activity in the rhizosphere. Future research on chemical, molecular, microbiological and physiological aspects is needed to improve understanding of how elevated CO2 might affect the use and acquisition of P by plants.

publication date

  • 2015