Chinese scientists Yubi et al. examined the interactive effects of elevated CO2 and higher temperature on various growth and biomass characteristics of potato (Solanum tuberosum).
Their work was conducted at the Lanzhou Institute of Arid Meteorology, China Meteorological Administration, Lanzhou, China, in 2016 and 2017, and published in the journal Open Chemistry 17: 728-737.
Potato plants (cv. New Daping) were grown in open-top chambers under ambient (370 ppm) or elevated (650 ppm) concentrations of atmospheric CO2, with the extra CO2 being supplied continuously during daylight hours (0700-1900 hours). Air temperatures were maintained at either ambient or ambient plus 2°C.
According to the researchers, the results showed that “the accumulation of dry weight of potato stem and aboveground biomass under the combined treatment of elevated CO2 concentration and high temperature (warming) was significantly higher than that of the control group by 35.8%-53.4% and significantly higher than that of the warming treatment group by 24.4%-34.4%.
Belowground tuber growth at the mature stage also benefited from elevated CO2 and warming; it was 24.1% higher than the warming treatment alone and 3.4% higher than the control treatment of ambient CO2 and ambient temperature.
The researchers concluded that all in all, it appears that potato yields will increase in the future due to elevated CO2, elevated temperature or a combination of such factors. “And that is great news for growers and consumers of this important global food crop,” they say.
Related information: In the YouTube video below, Prof Jacquie van der Waals, Potato Pathology Programme manager at the University of Pretoria said during an interview years ago that “climate change could result in a positive outcome for the potato industry and possibly lead to potatoes becoming one of the top staple crops in the world.”