New insights into the cellular mechanisms of plant growth at elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations

Dananjali Gamage, Michael Thompson, Mark Sutherland, Naoki Hirotsu, Amane Makino, Saman Seneweera

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration ([CO2]) significantly influences plant growth, development, and biomass. Increased photosynthesis rate, together with lower stomatal conductance, has been identified as the key factors that stimulate plant growth at elevated [CO2] (e[CO2]). However, variations in photosynthesis and stomatal conductance alone cannot fully explain the dynamic changes in plant growth. Stimulation of photosynthesis at e[CO2] is always associated with post-photosynthetic secondary metabolic processes that include carbon and nitrogen metabolism, cell cycle functions, and hormonal regulation. Most studies have focused on photosynthesis and stomatal conductance in response to e[CO2], despite the emerging evidence of e[CO2]'s role in moderating secondary metabolism in plants. In this review, we briefly discuss the effects of e[CO2] on photosynthesis and stomatal conductance and then focus on the changes in other cellular mechanisms and growth processes at e[CO2] in relation to plant growth and development. Finally, knowledge gaps in understanding plant growth responses to e[CO2] have been identified with the aim of improving crop productivity under a CO2 rich atmosphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1233-1246
Number of pages14
JournalPlant Cell and Environment
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jun


  • carbon metabolism
  • cell cycle
  • climate change
  • elevated [CO] (e[CO])
  • hormonal metabolism
  • nitrogen metabolism
  • photosynthesis
  • plant growth mechanism
  • source-sink interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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