There can no longer be any doubt that the quantity of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is increasing. The most important of these is CO 2, which has risen from a constant 280 ppm to 380 ppm since the start of the industrial revolution. Even the most optimistic predictions foresee a further increase to 550 ppm by 2100. The climate changes caused by greenhouse gases have a major impact on the success of crop production. Various aspects of this problem, namely the atmospheric CO 2 level and the soil water supplies, were investigated in cereals grown under controlled conditions in the phytotron. An increase in the atmospheric CO 2 level was found to mitigate or eliminate the negative effects of drought on biomass and grain yield. Variety traits were found to be more important for yield quality than the environmental factors tested, suggesting that adaptability could be improved by breeding. Doubling the atmospheric CO 2 concentration led to a deterioration in yield quality, but the extent of the decline was dependent on the genotype. The differences recorded between the genotypes will make it possible to use conventional and molecular breeding methods to develop gene combinations conferring better adaptability to environmental changes, for use in breeding new, more adaptable varieties.
- Increased atmospheric CO concentration
- Water deficiency
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agronomy and Crop Science