Stomatal Density and Index of Five Species of Crop Plants Grown at Elevated and Super-elevated CO2

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

The effects of elevated CO2 on stomatal density and index were investigated for five crop species currently being studied for NASA's Advanced Life Support program. Lettuce (cv. Waldmann's Green) and radish (cv. Giant White Globe) were grown at 400, 1000, 5000, or 10,000 μmol·mol–1 CO2, tomato (cvs. Red Robin and Reimann Philip 75/59) were grown at 400, 1200, 5000, or 10,000 μmol·mol–1 CO2, and wheat (cv. Yecora Rojo) and potato (cv. Denali) were grown at 400, 1000, or 10,000 μmol·mol–1 CO2 within controlled-environment growth chambers using nutrient film technique hydroponics. Leaf impressions were made by applying clear silicone-based RTV coating to the adaxial and abaxial leaf surfaces of three canopy leaves of each crop at each CO2 treatment. Impressions were examined using a light microscope, whereby the number of stomatal complexes and epidermal cells were counted to calculate stomatal density and stomatal index. Results indicate that stomatal density increased for lettuce and radish at 10,000 μmol·mol–1 CO2, whereas tomato density was highest at 1200 μmol·mol–1 CO2. Potato had the lowest density at 1000 μmol·mol–1 CO2, and there was no effect of CO2 on density for wheat. Stomatal index correlated with density for lettuce and tomato; however, stomatal index for radish, potato, and wheat was not influenced by CO2. This suggests that there may be a species-specific CO2 response to epidermal cell size that influences stomatal density and stomatal index.

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