The effects of CO2, temperature and their interaction on the growth and yield of carrot (Daucus carota L.)


T. R. Wheeler, Department of Agriculture, University of Reading, Earley Gate, P.O. Box 236, Reading, RG6 2AT, UK.


Stands of carrot (Daucus carota L.) were grown in the field within polyethylene-covered tunnels at a range of soil temperatures (from a mean of 7·5°C to 10·9°C) at either 348 (SE = 4·7) or 551 (SE = 7·7) μmol mol−1 CO2. The effect of increased atmospheric CO2 concentration on root yield was greater than that on total biomass. At the last harvest (137d from sowing), total biomass was 16% (95% CI = 6%, 27%) greater at 551 than at 348 μmol mol−1 CO2, and 37% (95% CI = 30%, 44%) greater as a result of a 1°C rise in soil temperature. Enrichment with CO2 or a 1°C rise in soil temperature increased root yield by 31% (95% CI = 19%, 45%) and 34% (95% CI = 27%, 42%), respectively, at this harvest. No effect on total biomass or root yield of an interaction between temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration at 137 DAS was detected. When compared at a given leaf number (seven leaves), CO2 enrichment increased total biomass by 25% and root yields by 80%, but no effect of differences in temperature on plant weights was found. Thus, increases in total biomass and root yield observed in the warmer crops were a result of the effects of temperature on the timing of crop growth and development. Partitioning to the storage roots during early root expansion was greater at 551 than at 348 μmol mol−1 CO2. The root to total weight ratio was unaffected by differences in temperature at 551 μmol mol−1CO2, but was reduced by cooler temperatures at 348 μmol mol−1 CO2. At a given thermal time from sowing, CO2 enrichment increased the leaf area per plant, particularly during early root growth, primarily as a result of an increase in the rate of leaf area expansion, and not an increase in leaf number.