Rise in ozone could cost US soybean industry additional $21 million annually

HONOLULU, HAWAII: Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is widely recognized, but less well publicized is the concomitant rise in tropospheric ozone concentration. In industrialized countries, tropospheric ozone concentration has risen by 0.5-2.5% per year (more rapidly than carbon dioxide concentration) and is predicted to reach a global mean of 63 parts per billion by 2030, with higher concentrations in the northern hemisphere (UN-IPCC, 2001).

Professor Stephen Long, plant scientist at the University of Illinois, Patrick Morgan and Professor German Bollero, both also at the University of Illinois, and Carl Bernacchi of the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service conducted this study.

The plant scientists said they expect elevated tropospheric ozone concentration to inhibit photosynthesis in soybean and therefore significantly decrease growth and yield.

Most elevated tropospheric ozone concentration studies have been conducted in chambers, which drastically alter the microclimate thus limiting extrapolation to field grown plants. SoyFACE (Soybean Free Air Concentration Enrichment, www.soyface.uiuc.edu) is the first facility to elevate atmospheric tropospheric ozone concentration (1.21 x ambient, 2030 level) in replicated plots under open-air conditions within an agricultural field.

This system utilizes prevailing wind to deliver elevated tropospheric ozone concentration throughout the crop canopy without altering the microclimate. Simultaneous measurements of fluorescence and gas-exchange (assimilation vs. light and assimilation vs. intercellular carbon dioxide concentration) were made on two groups of excised leaves: the newest topmost fully-expanded leaves over the growing season and two leaf cohorts over their lifetimes.

In the topmost fully-expanded leaf, growth in elevated tropospheric ozone concentration did not alter light-saturated photosynthesis (Asat, p=0.14). Carboxylation capacit

Contact: Brian Hyps
American Society of Plant Biologists

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