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Climate change impacts on cacao: genotypic variation in responses of mature cacao to elevated CO2 and water deficit

Lahive, F., Handley, L. R., Hadley, P. and Daymond, A. J. (2021) Climate change impacts on cacao: genotypic variation in responses of mature cacao to elevated CO2 and water deficit. Agronomy, 11 (5). 818. ISSN 2073-4395

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3390/agronomy11050818


Climate change poses a significant threat to agricultural production in the tropics, yet relatively little research has been carried out to understand its impact on mature tropical tree crops. This research aims to understand the genotypic variation in growth and photosynthesis in mature cacao trees in response to elevated CO2 and water deficit. Six genotypes were grown under greenhouse conditions at ambient (ca. 437 ppm) and elevated CO2 (ca. 724 ppm) and under well-watered and water deficit conditions for 23 months. Leaf- and canopy-level photosynthesis, water-use efficiency, and vegetative growth increased significantly in response to elevated CO2 . Water deficit had a significant negative effect on many photosynthetic parameters and significantly reduced biomass production. The negative effect of water deficit on quantum efficiency was alleviated by elevated CO2 . Genotypic variation was observed in several parameters including stomatal conductance, stomatal density and index, quantum efficiency, and biomass production, indicating the potential to develop more climate-change-resilient genotypes that can cope with predicted future climate change conditions. Elevated CO2 reduced some of the negative effects of water deficit through changes in water-use efficiency and light utilisation and reduced the negative impact of water deficit on biomass accumulation, but this was genotype-specific.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Crop Science
ID Code:97699
Uncontrolled Keywords:Theobroma cacao; abiotic stress; tropical crop; ecophysiology


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