Influence of CO2 enrichment and nitrogen fertilization on tissue chemistry and carbon allocation in longleaf pine seedlings

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Abstract

One-year old, nursery-grown longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) seedlings were grown in 45-L pots containing a coarse sandy medium and were exposed to two concentrations of atmospheric CO2 (365 or 720 μmol−1) and two levels of nitrogen (N) fertility (40 or 400 kg N ha−1 yr−1) within open top chambers for 20 months. At harvest, needles, stems, coarse roots, and fine roots were separated and weighed. Subsamples of each tissue were frozen in liquid N, lyophilized at -50°C, and ground to pass a 0.2 mm sieve. Tissue samples were analyzed for carbon (C), N, nonpolar extractives (fats, waxes, and oils = FWO), nonstructural carbohydrates (total sugars and starch), and structural carbohydrates (cellulose, lignin, and tannins). Increased dry weights of each tissue were observed under elevated CO2 and with high N; however, main effects of CO2 were significant only on belowground tissues. The high N fertility tended to result in increased partitioning of biomass aboveground, resulting in significantly lower root to shoot ratios. Elevated CO2 did not affect biomass allocation among tissues. Both atmospheric CO2 and N fertility tended to affect concentration of C compounds in belowground, more than aboveground, tissues. Elevated CO2 resulted in lower concentrations of starch, cellulose, and lignin, but increased concentrations of FWO in root tissues. High N fertility increased the concentration of starch, cellulose, and tannins, but resulted in lower concentrations of lignin and FWO in roots. Differences between CO2 concentrations tended to occur only with high N fertility. Atmospheric CO2 did not affect allocation patterns for any compound; however the high N treatment tended to result in a lower percentage of sugars, cellulose, and lignin belowground.

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