Does Elevated CO2 Provide Real Benefits for N2-Fixing Leguminous Symbioses?

  • Saad SuliemanEmail author
  • Nguyen Phuong Thao
  • Lam-Son Phan TranEmail author


Feeding the growing world population will be a significant challenge for agricultural development in the twenty-first century. Simultaneously, global climate change will provide an additional challenge by significantly modifying the potential capability of the cultivated plants, particularly for those favoring symbiotic association with soil bacteria. Hence, the whole-plant nutritional metabolism is expected to reprogram basically to meet these climatic variables that collectively become a major concern for future agriculture. In the frame of the current and projected climate scenarios, this chapter attempts to address whether symbiotic legumes would benefit greatly from the current and projected higher levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere—sometimes called the CO2 fertilization effect. On the basis of the results obtained by several researchers, nodulated legumes are projected to have a stronger response to elevated CO2 whose level is continuously rising. In sharp contrast, another group of researchers has questioned such beneficial responses by symbiotic legumes. Apparently, the experimental findings dealing with the effects of elevated CO2 on legume growth and function have revealed significant discrepancies and variability. In this chapter, we briefly outline the nature of global climate change in terms of rising atmospheric CO2 and then discuss the potential biotechnological targets for improving N2-fixing symbioses in a world of increasing CO2 level. Current interest in understanding legume responses to changing global climate makes this overview timely.


Climate change C/N metabolism Elevated CO2 N2 fixation Legumes Symbiosis Nodules Productivity 



The authors are grateful to the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) for financial support for this work and for awarding a postdoc fellowship to Saad Sulieman.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agronomy, Faculty of AgricultureUniversity of KhartoumShambatSudan
  2. 2.School of BiotechnologyInternational University, Vietnam National University HCMCHo Chi MinhVietnam
  3. 3.Signaling Pathway Research UnitRIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS)YokohamaJapan

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