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Some Plants REALLY Love CO2
Reference
Norikane, A., Teixeira da Silva, J.A. and Tanaka, M. 2013. Growth of in vitro Oncidesa plantlets cultured under cold cathode fluorescent lamps with super-elevated CO2 enrichment. AoB Plants 5: 10.1093/aobpla/plt044.

Background
The authors say that "as interest in how to increase biomass production through biotechnological means gains traction, focus is turning towards the use of photoautotrophic micro-propagation under elevated levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) to maximize plant growth and productivity," which they say "is an attractive application of biotechnology practiced by many plant scientists."

What was done
Working with a sympodial orchid hybrid (Oncidesa), Norikane et al. grew shoots of the high-quality commercial clonal orchid for 90 days in culture vessels where Vacin and Went (VW) sugar-free liquid medium (Vacin and Went, 1949) was used as the basal medium, and where temperature was maintained at 25°C, with a 16-hour photoperiod provided by conventional cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) producing photosynthetic flux densities (PPFD) of either 45 or 60 Ámol/m2/s, and in atmospheres of either ambient, 3000, 5000 or 10,000 ppm CO2.

What was learned
The three Japanese researchers report that plant dry weight increased monotonically with each increase in CO2, to where the CO2-induced increase in plant shoot dry weight in the 10,000 ppm environment was 274% greater than that in ambient air at 45°C and 286% greater than that in ambient air at 60°C, while plant root dry weight in the 10,000 ppm environment was 5,533% greater than that in ambient air at 45°C and 4,960% greater than that in ambient air at 60°C.

What it means
In light of their amazing findings, Norikane et al. conclude their paper by stating "there is great hope for using super-elevated CO2 enrichment under cold cathode fluorescent lamps for more efficient and higher-quality commercial production of clonal orchid plantlets, which is a key objective of orchid biotechnology," citing Hossain et al. (2013) and Teixeira da Silva (2013).

References
Hossain, M.M., Kant, R., Van, P.T., Winarto, B., Zeng, S.-J. and Teixeira da Silva, J.A. 2013. The application of biotechnology to orchids. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 32: 69-139.

Teixeira da Silva, J.A. 2013. Orchids: advances in tissue culture, genetics, phytochemistry and transgenic biotechnology. Floriculture and Ornamental Biotechnology 7: 1-52.

Vacin, E.R. and Went, F.W. 1949. Some pH changes in nutrient solutions. Botanical Gazette 110: 605-613.

Reviewed 9 July 2014