Biologia Plantarum

, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 401–408 | Cite as

Leaf senescence in response to elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration and low nitrogen supply

  • E. Agüera
  • P. De la Haba


This review reports the physiological and metabolic changes in plants during development under elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and/or limited-nitrogen supply in order to establish their effects on leaf senescence induction. Elevated CO2 concentration and nitrogen supply modify gene expression, protein content and composition, various aspects of photosynthesis, sugar metabolism, nitrogen metabolism, and redox state in plants. Elevated CO2 usually causes sugar accumulation and decreased nitrogen content in plant leaves, leading to imbalanced C/N ratio in mature leaves, which is one of the main factors behind premature senescence in leaves. Elevated CO2 and low nitrogen decrease activities of some antioxidant enzymes and thus increase H2O2 production. These changes lead to oxidative stress that results in the degradation of photosynthetic pigments and eventually induce senescence. However, this accelerated leaf senescence under conditions of elevated CO2 and limited nitrogen can mobilize nutrients to growing organs and thus ensure their functionality.

Additional key words

antioxidants C/N ratio gene expression oxidative stress photosynthesis sugars 



ascorbate peroxidase




aspartic acid


glutamate dehydrogenase


glutamic acid




cytololic glutamine synthetase


chloroplastic glutamine synthetase


intergovernmental panel on climate change


light-harvesting chlorophyll-binding proteins


ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase


reactive oxygen species


senescence associated gene


specific leaf mass


superoxide dismutase


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Copyright information

© The Institute of Experimental Botany 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Botánica, Ecología y Fisiología Vegetal, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de CórdobaCórdobaSpain

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