Hot, but not bothered

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

A NEW finding by the scientists of the New Delhi-based Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) brings good tidings for Indian farmers. High levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere and the predicted climate change leading to global warming could mean increased agricultural output in countries like India. IARI scientists have reached this conclusion after a series of indicative experiments.

It is generally believed that an increase in CO2 levels in the atmosphere would produce greater plant biomass and yield, because it forms the substrate for photosynthesis., But IARI scientists feel that rising temperatures could also be useful for greater productivity. According to Y P Abrol, ex-head of IARI's plant physiology division, "When CO2 goes up, the process of the metabolic machinery of the plants and the kinetics of the enzymes change, with the result that plants are able to function at comparatively higher temperatures. There is not much explanation for this phenomenon." The findings showed a 10 to 40 per cent increase in some crops; in other cases like cotton, there was nearly an 100 percent increase.

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