Concurrent elevation of CO2, O3 and temperature severely affects oil quality and quantity in rapeseed

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Abstract

Plant oil is an essential dietary and bio-energy resource. Despite this, the effects of climate change on plant oil quality remain to be elucidated. The present study is the first to show changes in oil quality and quantity of four rapeseed cultivars in climate scenarios with elevated [CO2], [O3] and temperature (T) combined and as single factors. The combination of environmental factors resembled IPCC’s ‘business as usual’ emission scenario predicted for late this century. Generally, the climate scenarios reduced the average amounts of the six fatty acids (FAs) analysed, though in some treatments single FAs remained unchanged or even increased. Most reduced was the FA essential for human nutrition, C18:3-ω3, which decreased by 39% and 45% in the combined scenarios with elevated [CO2]+T+[O3] and [CO2]+T, respectively. Average oil content decreased 3–17%. When [CO2] and T were elevated concurrently, the seed biomass was reduced by half, doubling the losses in FAs and oil content. This corresponded to a 58% reduction in the oil yield per hectare, and C18:3-ω3 decreased by 77%. Furthermore, the polyunsaturated FAs were significantly decreased. The results indicate undesirable consequences for production and health benefits of rapeseed oil with future climate change. The results also showed strong interactive effects of CO2, T and O3 on oil quality, demonstrating why prediction of climate effects requires experiments with combined factors and should not be based on extrapolation from single factor experiments.

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