How Does Carbon Dioxide Affect Plant Growth – Photosynthesis is the process of using sunlight to convert chemical compounds (specifically carbon dioxide and water) into food. Photosynthesizing organisms (plants, algae and bacteria) provide most of the chemical energy that flows through the biosphere. They also produced most of the biomass that gave rise to the fossil fuels that power much of our modern world. Photosynthesis takes place on land, in the sea and in freshwater environments. The first single-celled photosynthetic bacteria evolved more than 3.5 billion years ago. The subsequent increase in atmospheric oxygen (a by-product of photosynthesis) about a billion years later played an important role in shaping the evolution of life on Earth over the past 2.5 billion years. Today, the vast majority of terrestrial, freshwater and oceanic organisms need oxygen for respiration, the biochemical process that generates energy from food.
Photosynthesis is an essential part of how the Earth system works. Click the image on the left to open the Understanding Global Change infographic. Find the photosynthesis icon and identify other processes and phenomena in the Earth system that cause changes in photosynthesis or are affected by photosynthesis.
- 1 How Does Carbon Dioxide Affect Plant Growth
- 2 What Is Carbon Fertilization And Its Effects On Crop Production?
- 3 Carbon Dioxide Enrichment
How Does Carbon Dioxide Affect Plant Growth
Photosynthesis is the chemical process by which plants, algae and some bacteria use the energy of sunlight to convert carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere and water into organic compounds such as sugars. These sugars are then used to make complex carbohydrates, lipids and proteins, as well as the wood, leaves and roots of plants. The amount of organic matter produced by photosynthetic organisms in an ecosystem is defined as the productivity of that ecosystem. Energy flows through the biosphere as organisms (including some animals) eat photosynthesizing organisms (called herbivores), and as organisms eat these herbivores (carnivores), etc. eat, to get their energy for growth, reproduction and other functions. This energy is obtained through the process of cellular respiration, which usually requires oxygen. Oxygen is a by-product of photosynthesis. About 70% of the oxygen in the atmosphere we breathe comes from seaweed. Atmospheric oxygen from photosynthesis also forms the ozone layer, which protects organisms from harmful high-energy ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the Sun. Because photosynthesis also requires water, the availability of water affects ecosystem productivity and biomass, which in turn affects how much and how fast water circulates through the ecosystem.
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Fossil fuels are obtained from the burial of photosynthetic organisms, including land plants (which form mainly coal) and plankton in the oceans (which form mainly oil and natural gas). As it is buried, the carbon in the organic matter is removed from the carbon cycle over thousands to hundreds of millions of years. The burning of fossil fuels has dramatically increased the exchange of carbon from the soil to the atmosphere and oceans. This return of carbon to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide is produced at a rate hundreds to thousands of times faster than it took to bury it, and much faster than it can be removed by photosynthesis or weathering. The carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuels therefore accumulates in the atmosphere, raising average temperatures and causing ocean acidification.
Humans have altered the rate of photosynthesis and, in turn, the productivity of ecosystems through a variety of activities, including:
The Earth System model below includes some of the processes and phenomena associated with photosynthesis. These processes operate at different rates and at different spatial and temporal scales. For example, carbon dioxide is transferred between plants and animals over relatively short periods of time (hours-weeks), but deforestation disrupts ecosystems over decades to centuries, or longer. Can you think of additional cause and effect relationships between photosynthesis and other Earth system processes?
Click on bold terms (eg respiration, productivity and combustion of biomass and fossil fuels) on this page to learn more about these processes and phenomena. Alternatively, explore the Understanding Global Change infographic and find new topics of interest and/or local relevance. About Ed Rosenthal Conference, Events and Consulting Contact International Cannabis Business Conference The Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum Amsterdam Green Aid: The Medical Marihuana Legal Defense and Education Fund Quantum 9 Marihuana Consulting
What Is Carbon Fertilization And Its Effects On Crop Production?
Healthy plants need a supply of carbon dioxide (CO2) just as they need nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium or any other necessary nutrient. The carbon dioxide content of fresh outdoor air is about 406 parts per million (ppm) of the Earth’s atmosphere. It is critical for photosynthesis and cannabis plants suffer if they don’t get at least a minimal amount of CO2.
Cannabis uses CO2 in the presence of light. Photosynthesis occurs when the plant receives light. The marijuana plant absorbs CO2 from the air through small openings on the underside of the leaves called stomata. They function like skin pores, but have protective cells that can be opened and closed. They regulate the absorption of water, gas, oxygen, (O2) and CO2 in the plant, as well as the evacuation of water and O2 from the plant.
It is critical for photosynthesis and cannabis plants suffer if they don’t get at least a minimal amount of CO2.
Once CO2 is absorbed into the plant, it is directed to the chloroplasts, the plant organelles that contain light-absorbing chlorophylls, where photosynthesis takes place.
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Photosynthesis consists of a complex series of reactions in which light energy is used to convert carbon dioxide and water into sugar, releasing oxygen as a byproduct.
The amount of CO2 in the air has a great influence on the rate of photosynthesis and plant growth. Photosynthesis accelerates as the amount of CO2 in the air increases, as long as there is enough light to fuel it (up to an upper limit). Photosynthesis slows to a crawl and virtually stops at a CO2 concentration of about 200 ppm. In the absence of CO2, plants continue to breathe and grow for a short time, until their sugars are used up; then they slow down their metabolism to conserve energy. Only when more CO2 is available can plant processes continue.
CO2 at normal levels is not dangerous. It is a non-flammable gas. It is not toxic at the low levels used by growers. CO2 can pose health risks in extreme concentrations (above 50,000 ppm), but this level is more than 30 times the maximum that plants find useful. What you want to know about indoor CO2 tanks and lighting
Inside a grow tent, an OG Growlite reflector is cooled by 8-inch ducts. A single Pineapple Kush plant is supercut to cover the entire tent area.
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When plants grow in an enclosed area, there is a limited amount of CO2 for them to use. Under bright lights, CO2 is quickly used up. Indoor gardens without ventilation also quickly become depleted to the point where the rate of photosynthesis slows to a virtual standstill at 200ppm. Only when more CO2 is added to the mix does photosynthesis resume.
A closed closet or other small gardening space can be recharged with CO2 by simply opening the door or curtain to let in fresh air. This passively increases the CO2 content of the greenhouse, as the air naturally equalizes the concentrations of oxygen (O2) and CO2 in and out of the grow space, exchanging the higher levels of O2 for CO2. Adding a small fan speeds up air exchange.
Under low light conditions (150 mol or 1150 fc) (12, 330 lux), the rate of photosynthesis increases as CO2 rises to 400 ppm. Increasing the CO2 concentration further without increasing the light intensity does not result in a higher rate of photosynthesis.
At a light intensity of 600 mol (4600 fc) (49,310 lux), the rate of photosynthesis increases further as the CO2 concentration increases to 400 ppm. The rate of increase slows a bit after that, but the rate of photosynthesis continues to increase as CO2 levels reach 600 ppm.
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Above 600 ppm CO2, the rate of photosynthesis continues to increase, but at an even slower rate, until the rate increase stops at about 1200 ppm.
When plants receive light between 4500-5500 fc (48,240 lux), they can use between 1200-1300 ppm CO2. Although very few gardens are provided with more than 7500 fc (80,400 lux) of light, at this intensity plants can use up to 1500 ppm CO2, the enrichment rate recommended by some manufacturers.
The kit consists of a CO2 meter, a pressure regulator and a solenoid valve. For most gardeners, 20- or 50-pound (gas weight) tanks are most convenient. Tanks can be bought or rented.
CO2 tanks are a common way to increase CO2 levels in a garden, but there are other ways:
Carbon Dioxide Enrichment
You can calculate the amount of CO2 needed to bring a grow area to 1000 ppm by multiplying the cubic area of the grow room (length x width x height) by 0.001. The total represents the number of square feet of gas required to achieve the optimal CO2 range.
For example, a 13′ x 18′ x 12′ room contains 2808 cubic feet: 2808 x 0.001 equals 2.8 cubic feet of CO2 required. A room of 3 x 4 x 3 meters contains 36 cubic meters and will require 0.036 cubic meters
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