Elevated Carbon Dioxide and Chronic Warming Together Decrease Nitrogen Uptake Rate, Net Translocation, and Assimilation in Tomato

Plants (Basel). 2021 Apr 8;10(4):722. doi: 10.3390/plants10040722.


The response of plant N relations to the combination of elevated CO2 (eCO2) and warming are poorly understood. To study this, tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants were grown at 400 or 700 ppm CO2 and 33/28 or 38/33 °C (day/night), and their soil was labeled with 15NO3- or 15NH4+. Plant dry mass, root N-uptake rate, root-to-shoot net N translocation, whole-plant N assimilation, and root resource availability (%C, %N, total nonstructural carbohydrates) were measured. Relative to eCO2 or warming alone, eCO2 + warming decreased growth, NO3- and NH4+-uptake rates, root-to-shoot net N translocation, and whole-plant N assimilation. Decreased N assimilation with eCO2 + warming was driven mostly by inhibition of NO3- assimilation, and was not associated with root resource limitations or damage to N-assimilatory proteins. Previously, we showed in tomato that eCO2 + warming decreases the concentration of N-uptake and -assimilatory proteins in roots, and dramatically increases leaf angle, which decreases whole-plant light capture and, hence, photosynthesis and growth. Thus, decreases in N uptake and assimilation with eCO2 + warming in tomato are likely due to reduced plant N demand.

Keywords: Solanum; climate change; elevated CO2; heat stress; nitrogen assimilation; nitrogen metabolism; nitrogen uptake; tomato; warming.