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Elevated carbon dioxide plus chronic warming causes dramatic increases in leaf angle in tomato, which correlates with reduced plant growth

Jayawardena, Dileepa Madushanka, Heckathorn, Scott Alan, Bista, Deepesh Raj, Boldt, Jennifer Kay
Plant, cell and environment 2019 v.42 no.4 pp. 1247-1256
Helianthus annuus, Solanum lycopersicum, biomass, carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide enrichment, food production, hyponasty, leaf angle, leaf area, leaf blade, okra, petioles, photosynthesis, soybeans, temperature, tomatoes, water stress
Limited evidence indicates that moderate leaf hyponasty can be induced by high temperatures or unnaturally high CO₂. Here, we report that the combination of warming plus elevated CO₂ (eCO₂) induces severe leaf hyponasty in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.). To characterize this phenomenon, tomato plants were grown at two levels of CO₂ (400 vs. 700 ppm) and two temperature regimes (30 vs. 37°C) for 16–18 days. Leaf hyponasty increased dramatically with warming plus eCO₂ but increased only slightly with either factor alone and was slowly reversible upon transfer to control treatments. Increases in leaf angle were not correlated with leaf temperature, leaf water stress, or heat‐related damage to photosynthesis. However, steeper leaf angles were correlated with decreases in leaf area and biomass, which could be explained by decreased light interception and thus in situ photosynthesis, as leaves became more vertical. Petiole hyponasty and leaf‐blade cupping were also observed with warming + eCO₂ in marigold and soybean, respectively, which are compound‐leaved species like tomato, but no such hyponasty was observed in sunflower and okra, which have simple leaves. If severe leaf hyponasty is common under eCO₂ and warming, then this may have serious consequences for food production in the future.