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Spanish researchers use CO2's to adjust crops demand

The Council of Agriculture and Water of the Region of Murcia, through Murcia's Institute of Research and Development for Food and Agriculture (IMIDA), has identified the physiological mechanisms regulating plant growth under higher CO2 concentration levels.

The study results will help improve pepper production volumes, and have just been published by the prestigious scientific magazine Physiologia Plantarum.

The project has been led by IMIDA and has counted with the collaboration of the Research and Development Centre of the Timac-Agro Roullier Group, the University of Navarra and France's International Agro-Sciences Research Centre (CRIAS-TAI).

In recent years, IMIDA has been conducting studies at regional, national and international level to determine the effects of the increase in CO2 levels on plants, and especially for the Region's most representative crops.

According to the Institutes director, Adrián Martínez, "recent publications in the field of nutrition and plant physiology are the result of intense scientific collaboration with other public and private institutions. This allows us, on the one hand, to identify with great detail the mechanisms and metabolic processes which become altered when plants suffer abiotic stress, such as draught-induced salinity, and on the other hand, to use this knowledge to solve the crops' problems."

For his part, Francisco del Amor, head researcher of the aforementioned project, explained how an alteration in the atmosphere's CO2 concentration has been observed to significantly change the plant's growth, as well as its water and fertiliser demand.

It has been discovered that several hormones, such as indoleacetic acid and cytokinins, are directly involved in the regulation of growth and the reduction of saline stress under high CO2 content conditions.

This alteration, he concluded, triggers changes in nitrogen demand and photosynthetic rate, which need to be taken into account in order to optimise crop production.

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