Impact of elevated CO2 and high temperature on strawberry micronutrients
Climate change has become a major challenge in modern agriculture because of its negative impact on both quantity and quality of the crops. Rising atmospheric temperatures and CO2 concentrations appear to have direct and indirect effects on the nutritional quality of fruits and vegetables. However, most studies evaluated the effect of either temperature or CO2 concentration, but not their combination. Strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) is well known for its high phytochemical content and proven health benefits. The current project aims to investigate the combined effect of high CO2 concentration and temperature on plant growth and development, physical and nutritional quality of fruits, and the in vitro bioavailability of major nutrients in strawberries. Common strawberry cultivars 'Albion' and 'San Andreas' were exposed to combinations of two different temperatures (25 and 30°C) and three different CO2 levels (400 (ambient), 650 and 950 ppm) for two months in controlled environment chambers. After the first month, physiological performances, growth and development of plants were measured. Since physical fruit quality of strawberry plays a major role, due to high consumer preference for its attractive visual appeal with bright red colour and unique shape, the final yield was calculated on a fresh weight basis and the fruits were analysed for their physical and nutritional qualities. Results showed that the high temperature negatively affected plant growth and development and was responsible for producing lower quality, small fruits with irregular shapes. In contrast, the high growth temperature remarkably enhanced the polyphenols in fruits. Nonetheless, the final yield was significantly reduced by higher temperatures of over 35°C. Therefore, it will be interesting to find out whether increasing CO2 concentrations may compensate for these losses in warmer environments to produce strawberries with high physical and nutritional quality.
Himali Balasooriya won an ISHS Young Minds award for the best oral presentation at the IV International Conference on Postharvest and Quality Management of Horticultural Products of Interest for Tropical Regions in Sri Lanka in April 2017.
Himali Balasooriya, School of Agriculture and Food, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Australia, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The full article is available in Chronica Horticulturae