Biology, Agricultural Sciences & Agronomy; Triticum aestivum; carbon dioxide; minerals; protein; starch; baking properties; crop quality; food security
Elevated carbon dioxide (eCO2) stimulates wheat grain yield, but simultaneously reduces protein (N) concentration. Also other essential nutrients are subject to change. This study is a comprehensive synthesis of wheat experiments with eCO2, estimating effects on N, minerals (B, Ca, Cd, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, P, S, Zn), and starch. Analysis was made by i) deriving response functions for the relative effect on element concentration in relation to CO2 concentration, ii) meta-analysis to test the magnitude and significance of observed effects, and iii) relating CO2 effects on minerals to effects on N and grain yield. Responses range from zero to strong negative effects of eCO2 on mineral concentration, with largest reductions for the nutritionally important elements N, Fe, S, Zn and Mg. Together with the positive but small and non-significant effect on starch concentration, the large variation in effects suggests that CO2-induced responses cannot be explained by a simple dilution model. To explain the observed pattern, uptake and transport mechanisms may have to be considered, along with the link of different elements to N uptake. Our study shows that eCO2 has a significant effect on wheat grain stoichiometry, with implications for human nutrition in a world of rising CO2.