Expression patterns of C- and N-metabolism related genes in wheat are changed during senescence under elevated CO2 in dry-land agriculture
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Projected climatic impacts on crop yield and quality, and increased demands for production, require targeted research to optimise nutrition of crop plants. For wheat, post-anthesis carbon and nitrogen remobilisation from vegetative plant parts and translocation to grains directly affects grain carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and protein levels. We analysed the influence of increased atmospheric CO2 on the expression of genes involved in senescence, leaf carbohydrate and nitrogen metabolism and assimilate transport in wheat under field conditions (Australian Grains Free Air CO2 Enrichment; AGFACE) over a time course from anthesis to maturity, the key period for grain filling. Wheat grown under CO2 enrichment had lower N concentrations and a tendency towards greater C/N ratios. A general acceleration of the senescence process by elevated CO2 was not confirmed. The expression patterns of genes involved in carbohydrate metabolism, nitrate reduction and metabolite transport differed between CO2 treatments, and this CO2 effect was different between pre-senescence and during senescence. The results suggest up-regulation of N remobilisation and down-regulation of C remobilisation during senescence under elevated CO2, which is consistent with greater grain N-sink strength of developing grains.
Agro-ecosystem Function and Prediction