ABA and BAP improve the accumulation of carbohydrates and alter carbon allocation in potato plants at elevated CO2


Elevated CO2 interactions with other factors affects the plant performance. Regarding the differences between cultivars in response to CO2 concentrations, identifying the cultivars that better respond to such conditions would maximize their potential benefits. Increasing the ability of plants to benefit more from elevated CO2 levels alleviates the adverse effects of photoassimilate accumulation on photosynthesis and increases the productivity of plants. Despite its agronomic importance, there is no information about the interactive effects of elevated CO2 concentration and plant growth regulators (PGRs) on potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) plants. Hence, the physiological response and source-sink relationship of potato plants (cvs. Agria and Fontane) to combined application of CO2 levels (400 vs. 800 µmol mol−1) and plant growth regulators (PGR) [6-benzylaminopurine (BAP) + Abscisic acid (ABA)] were evaluated under a controlled environment. The results revealed a variation between the potato cultivars in response to a combination of PGRs and CO2 levels. Cultivars were different in leaf chlorophyll content; Agria had higher chlorophyll a, b, and total chlorophyll content by 23, 43, and 23%, respectively, compared with Fontane. The net photosynthetic rate was doubled at the elevated compared with the ambient CO2. In Agria, the ratio of leaf intercellular to ambient air CO2 concentrations [Ci:Ca] was declined in elevated-CO2-grown plants, which indicated the stomata would become more conservative at higher CO2 levels. On the other hand, the increased Ci:Ca in Fontane showed a stomatal acclimation to higher CO2 concentration. The higher leaf dark respiration of the elevated CO2-grown and BAP + ABA-treated plants was associated with a higher leaf soluble carbohydrates and starch content. Elevated CO2 and BAP + ABA shifted the dry matter partitioning to the belowground more than the above-media organs. The lower leaf soluble carbohydrate content and greater tuber yield in Fontane might indicate a more efficient photoassimilate translocation than Agria. The results highlighted positive synergic effects of the combined BAP + ABA and elevated CO2 on tuber yield and productivity of the potato plants.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6


CO2 :

Carbon dioxide


Plant growth regulator




Abscisic acid

Ci/Ca :

The ratio of leaf intercellular to ambient air CO2 concentrations


Soluble carbohydrate content


Starch content




Gibberellic acid


Chlorophyll a


Chlorophyll b

Chl a + b:

Total chlorophyll

Chl a:B:

Chlorophyll a/b ratio




Net photosynthetic rate

Rd :

Dark respiration

gs :

Stomatal conductance

Tr :

Transpiration rate

Ci :

Intercellular CO2


Quantum yield of photosystem II


Leaf dry matter


Stem dry matter


Root dry matter


Tuber dry matter


Tuber yield


Mean tuber weight


Tuber number


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Ahmadi-Lahijani, M.J., Kafi, M., Nezami, A. et al. ABA and BAP improve the accumulation of carbohydrates and alter carbon allocation in potato plants at elevated CO2. Physiol Mol Biol Plants (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12298-021-00956-w

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  • Dark respiration
  • Hydroponics
  • Photosynthetic rate
  • Photosynthetic pigments
  • Soluble carbohydrates
  • Starch