The growth response of Alternanthera philoxeroides in a simulated post-combustion emission with ultrahigh [CO2] and acidic pollutants

Environ Pollut. 2009 Jul;157(7):2118-25. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2009.02.013. Epub 2009 Mar 6.


Although post-combustion emissions from power plants are a major source of air pollution, they contain excess CO2 that could be used to fertilize commercial greenhouses and stimulate plant growth. We addressed the combined effects of ultrahigh [CO2] and acidic pollutants in flue gas on the growth of Alternanthera philoxeroides. When acidic pollutants were excluded, the biomass yield of A. philoxeroides saturated near 2000 micromol mol(-1) [CO2] with doubled biomass accumulation relative to the ambient control. The growth enhancement was maintained at 5000 micromol mol(-1) [CO2], but declined when [CO2] rose above 1%, in association with a strong photosynthetic inhibition. Although acidic components (SO2 and NO2) significantly offset the CO2 enhancement, the aboveground yield increased considerably when the concentration of pollutants was moderate (200 times dilution). Our results indicate that using excess CO2 from the power plant emissions to optimize growth in commercial green house could be viable.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture*
  • Air Pollutants / pharmacology
  • Air Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Biomass
  • Carbon Dioxide / pharmacology*
  • Commerce
  • Ecology / methods
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Industrial Waste*
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / analysis
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / toxicity
  • Photosynthesis / drug effects
  • Plant Development
  • Plants / drug effects*
  • Power Plants*
  • Sulfur Dioxide / analysis
  • Sulfur Dioxide / toxicity


  • Air Pollutants
  • Industrial Waste
  • Sulfur Dioxide
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Nitrogen Dioxide