Interactive effects of elevated CO2, nitrogen and drought on leaf area, stomatal conductance, and evapotranspiration of wheat

Fusheng Li, Shaozhong Kang*, Jianhua ZHANG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Atmospheric CO2 enrichment may bring different effects on plant growth and evapotranspiration if plants are under N and water deficient conditions. In this study, spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) was grown in pots at two atmospheric CO2 concentrations (ambient and elevated), two levels of soil moisture (well-watered and droughted to 45-60% of field capacity) and five nitrogen (N) fertilization treatments (0, 112.5, 225.0, 337.5, 450.0 kg hm-2) in growth chambers. Leaf growth, leaf area, and tiller increment were largely a function of N application and water supply. Elevated CO2 increased 23-45% in leaf area only with the N-added treatments 55 days after sowing. Elevated CO2 also reduced stomatal conductance more in droughted treatments (-51%) than in well-watered treatments (-41%), and more with zero N application (-60%) than with the adequate N (-35 to 44%). Evapotranspiration (ET) was also reduced by CO2 enrichment in a similar way. Our results showed that the CO2-enrichment-induced decrease in transpiration almost compensated for the increase in ET brought by the higher leaf area under adequate N and water supply, such that ET was similar for control and CO2-enriched plants. Under reduced N and water supply, CO2 enrichment had limited effect on either leaf growth or ET.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-233
Number of pages13
JournalAgricultural Water Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2004

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes

User-Defined Keywords

  • CO enrichment
  • Evapotranspiration
  • Leaf area
  • Nitrogen nutrition
  • Soil water stress
  • Stomatal conductance


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