Skip to main content
Log in

Elevated CO2 promotes the acquisition of phosphorus in crop species differing in physiological phosphorus-acquiring mechanisms

  • Regular Article
  • Published:
Plant and Soil Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Background and aims

Crop species differ in phosphorus (P) acquisition in P-limiting environments. However, it is not fully understood how elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations affects these P acquisition mechanisms and the plant's ability to acquire P from soil. This study aimed to investigate the effect of elevated CO2 on P acquisition in crop species with contrasting P acquisition mechanisms.


White lupin, faba bean, canola and near-isogenic wheat lines with and without citrate efflux were grown for 70 days in a P-deficient Chromosol soil under ambient (400 ppm) and elevated (800 ppm) CO2. Plant P uptake and P transformation in the rhizosphere were determined.


Elevated CO2 promoted total P uptake in white lupin and canola by 84% and 48%, respectively, and decreased the P uptake in the non-citrate-exuding wheat (by 24%) but not the exuding wheat. In white lupin, elevated CO2 enhanced phosphatase activity and depletion of organic P in the rhizosphere. Elevated CO2 increased P uptake by increasing root length which allowed canola to exploit a greater volume of soil for P. In the rhizosphere of faba bean, NaOH-extractable inorganic P was greater under elevated CO2.


Crops which rely on organic acid exudation and phosphatases appear to be better adapted to acquiring P under elevated CO2.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

Similar content being viewed by others


Download references


We would like to thank Mr. Mark Richards from New South Wales Department of Primary Industry for providing the white lupin and chickpea seeds and Professor Manny Delhaize from CSIRO for providing the wheat seeds. JBO was supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Caixian Tang.

Additional information

Responsible Editor: Honghua He.

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

O’Sullivan, J.B., Jin, J. & Tang, C. Elevated CO2 promotes the acquisition of phosphorus in crop species differing in physiological phosphorus-acquiring mechanisms. Plant Soil 455, 397–408 (2020).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: