USDA Agricultural Research Service --Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version



J Agro Crop Sci (2013) ISSN 0931-2250; doi:10.1111/jac.12033


Phosphorous deficiency in soil limits crop growth and productivity in the majority of arable lands worldwide and may moderate the growth enhancement effect of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration. To evaluate the interactive effect of these two factors on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) growth and physiology, plants were grown in controlled environment growth chambers with three levels of phosphate (Pi) supply (0.20, 0.05 and 0.01 mM) under ambient and elevated (400 and 800 μmol mol‒1, respectively) CO2. Phosphate stress caused stunted growth and resulted in early leaf senescence with severely decreased leaf area and photosynthesis. Phosphate stress led to over 77 % reduction in total biomass across CO2 levels. There was a below-ground (roots) shift in biomass partitioning under Pi deficiency. While tissue phosphorus (P) decreased, tissue nitrogen (N) content tended to increase under Pi deficiency. The CO2 × Pi interactions were significant on leaf area, photosynthesis and biomass accumulation. The stimulatory effect of elevated CO2 on growth and photosynthesis was reduced or highly depressed suggesting an increased sensitivity of cotton to Pi deficiency under elevated CO2. Although, tissue P and stomatal conductance were lower at elevated CO2, these did not appear to be the main causes of cotton unresponsiveness to elevated CO2 under severe Pi-stress. The alteration in the uptake and utilization of N was suggested due to a consistent reduction (18–21 %) in the cotton plant tissue N content under elevated CO2.