Impacts of ground-level ozone on sugarcane production

Cheesman, Alexander W., Brown, Flossie, Farha, Nahid, Rosan, Thais M., Folberth, Gerd A., Hayes, Felicity, Moura, Barbara B., Paoletti, Elena, Hoshika, Yasutomo, Osborne, Colin P., Cernusak, Lucas A., Ribeiro, Rafael V., and Sitch, Stephen (2023) Impacts of ground-level ozone on sugarcane production. Science of the Total Environment, 904. 166817.

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Sugarcane is a vital commodity crop often grown in (sub)tropical regions which have been experiencing a recent deterioration in air quality. Unlike for other commodity crops, the risk of air pollution, specifically ozone (O3), to this C4 crop has not yet been quantified. Yet, recent work has highlighted both the potential risks of O3 to C4 bioenergy crops, and the emergence of O3 exposure across the tropics as a vital factor determining global food security. Given the large extent, and planned expansion of sugarcane production in places like Brazil to meet global demand for biofuels, there is a pressing need to characterize the risk of O3 to the industry. In this study, we sought to a) derive sugarcane O3 dose-response functions across a range of realistic O3 exposure and b) model the implications of this across a globally important production area. We found a significant impact of O3 on biomass allocation (especially to leaves) and production across a range of sugarcane genotypes, including two commercially relevant varieties (e.g. CTC4, Q240). Using these data, we calculated dose-response functions for sugarcane and combined them with hourly O3 exposure across south-central Brazil derived from the UK Earth System Model (UKESM1) to simulate the current regional impact of O3 on sugarcane production using a dynamic global vegetation model (JULES vn 5.6). We found that between 5.6 % and 18.3 % of total crop productivity is likely lost across the region due to the direct impacts of current O3 exposure. However, impacts depended critically on the substantial differences in O3 susceptibility observed among sugarcane genotypes and how these were implemented in the model. Our work highlights not only the urgent need to fully elucidate the impacts of O3 in this important bioenergetic crop, but the potential implications air quality may have upon tropical food production more generally.

Item ID: 80586
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-1026
Copyright Information: © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2023 23:32
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3108 Plant biology > 310806 Plant physiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 100%
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