The effects of CO2 enrichment on growth and N allocation of rice (Oryza sativa L.) were examined. The plants were grown hydroponically in growth chambers with a 14-h photoperiod (1000 μmol quanta m-2 s-1) and a day/night temperature of 25/20°C. From the 28th to 70th d after germination, the plants were exposed to two CO2 partial pressures, namely 36 and 100 Pa. The CO2 enrichment increased the final biomass, but this was caused by a stimulation of the growth rate during the first week of the exposure to elevated CO2 partial pressures. The disappearance of the initial stimulation of the growth rate was associated with a decreased leaf area ratio. Furthermore, CO2 enrichment decreased the investment of N in the leaf blades, whereas the N allocation into the leaf sheaths and roots increased. Thus, the decrease in leaf N content by CO2 enrichment was not due to dilution of N caused by a relative increase in the plant biomass but was due to the change in N allocation at the whole-plant level. We conclude that the growth responses of rice to CO2 enrichment are mainly controlled by leaf area expansion and N allocation into leaf blades at the whole-plant level.
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