Elevated and Super-elevated CO2 Effects on Stomatal Behavior and Yield of Tomato Cultivated Hydroponically

in HortScience
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  • 1 1Dynamac Corp., Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899
  • | 2 2NASA Biomedical Operations Office, Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899

The growth of candidate crops in high CO2 environments is being investigated as part of NASA's goal of using higher plants for bioregenerative life support systems. Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) cvs. Red Robin and Reimann Philipp were grown in recirculating hydroponics at 400, 1200, 5000, or 10,000 μmol·mol–1 CO2 for 105 days. The plants received a 12/12 hour photo-period at 500 μmol·m–2·s–1 PPF, 26/22°C (light/dark), and 65% continuous relative humidity. Stomatal conductance increased at the highest CO2 levels, which is similar to what we have reported with Soybean, radish, and potato. Fruit number increased with increasing CO2, where Red Robin produced 663 fruit/m2 and Reimann Philipp produced 6870 fruit/m2 at 10,000 μmol·mol–1 CO2. Fruit fresh mass was greatest at 10,000 μmol·mol–1 CO2 for Red Robin (7.4 kg·m–2) and at 5000 μmol·mol–1 CO2 for Reimann Philipp (27 kg·m–2), suggesting that very high CO2 was not detrimental to yields. These findings contrast with those of wheat, soybean, and potato, which have shown slightly depressed yields at CO2 levels above 1200 μmol·mol–1.

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