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Article|30 Apr 2014|OPEN
Growth and physiological responses of creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) to elevated carbon dioxide concentrations
Patrick Burgess1 and Bingru Huang,1 ,
1Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
*Corresponding author. E-mail: huang@aesop.rutgers.edu

Horticulture Research 1,
Article number: 21 (2014)
doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/hortres.2014.21
Views: 689

Received: 28 Feb 2014
Revised: 04 Mar 2014
Accepted: 05 Mar 2014
Published online: 30 Apr 2014

Abstract

The atmospheric carbon dioxide level has increased and is predicted to continue increasing, which may affect various aspects of plant growth. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of doubling the carbon dioxide level on the growth and physiological activities of a widely utilized cool-season turfgrass species, creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L. ‘Penncross’). ‘Penncross’ plants were established in fritted clay medium and maintained under well-irrigated and well-fertilized conditions in growth chambers. The plants were exposed to either ambient carbon dioxide concentrations (400±10 µmol L−1) or elevated carbon dioxide concentrations (800±10 µmol L−1) for 12 weeks. Plants grown under elevated carbon dioxide displayed a significantly faster growth rate of their lateral stems (stolons) and increased shoot and root dry weight but a reduced specific leaf area compared to those plants at ambient carbon dioxide levels. Fast stolon growth is a highly desirable trait for turfgrass establishment and recovery from physical damage. The root length and surface area were also increased due to the elevated CO2, which may facilitate water uptake and serve critical drought-avoidance roles when irrigation water is limited. Elevated carbon dioxide caused an increase in the leaf net photosynthetic rate but a reduction in the stomatal conductance and transpiration rate, contributing to improved water use efficiency in creeping bentgrass. Efficient water use is especially important for turfgrass plant survival when irrigation water is limited. Our results suggested that cool-season turfgrass species may greatly benefit from increasingly elevated carbon dioxide concentrations via growth promotion and increasing water use efficiency.