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Effect of CO2 on the establishment of the plantule of açaí (Euterpe oleracea Mart.)

Grant number: 07/04686-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2007
Effective date (End): March 31, 2009
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany - Pant Physiology
Principal Investigator:Marcos Silveira Buckeridge
Grantee:Leila Cristina Mortari
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The issue of the global climatic changes is nowadays recognised worldwide for not only affecting human life but also being originated from human activities. The increase in atmospheric CO2 that has been observed since the Industrial Revolution is now thought to be associated with future increase in temperature, which ranges from 1,5 to 4ºC, depending on the region of the planet. The most efficient method for removal of atmospheric carbon dioxide is photosynthesis, which starts with the processin of CO2 by the enzyme Rubisco, present in leaves of almost all plants in the planet. Many studies have demonstrated that one of the effects of the increase in atmospheric CO2 is correlated with increase in Rubisco activity and consequently in photosynthesis. This leads to increase in plant growth. This effect can lead to increase in biomass and therefore to greater carbon storage in the form of carbohydrates (sucrose, starch and cellulose). Studies of this kind have been performed with gymnosperms, Leguminosae and the Poaceae family, to name but a few, but no significant results are found in the literature regarding palm trees. One of the native Brazilian species appreciated worldwide is the Assai palm (Euterpe oleracea Mart.), mainly due to the energetic potential of the juice extracted from its fruits. Its seeds are used in handcrafts, but it has recently been indicated that they may also show potential for energy production through biomass. Given the importance of this species, this project aims to acquire knowledge about the physiological and biochemical responses of seedlings of the assai palm of the assai palm to the increase in atmospheric CO2. After germination, the seedlings will be developed inside open-top chambers containing 720ppm of carbon dioxide, which corresponds to the values predicted for the end of this century. Biochemical and physiological parameters will be evaluated in order to understand the processes of carbon fixation and storage in this species. (AU)

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