The climate benefits of high-sugar grassland may be compromised by ozone pollution

Hewitt, D.K.L.; Mills, G.; Hayes, F.; Davies, W.. 2016 The climate benefits of high-sugar grassland may be compromised by ozone pollution. Science of the Total Environment, 565. 95-104.

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High sugar ryegrasses (HSG) have been developed to improve the uptake, digestion and nitrogen (N)-utilisation of grazing stock, with the potential to increase production yields and benefit climate by reducing methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from livestock farming. In this study, the effects of tropospheric ozone pollution on the seasonal growth dynamics of HSG pasture mesocosms containing Lolium perenne cv. AberMagic and Trifolium repens cv. Crusader were investigated. Species-specific ozone (O3) dose-response relationships (seasonal means: 35, 41, 47, 51, 59 & 67 ppb) based on the Phytotoxic Ozone Dose (PODy) were constructed for above and below ground biomass, injury, N-fixation and forage quality. The dynamics of effects of ozone exposure on HSG pasture changed over the course of a season, with the strongest responses occurring in the first 4–8 weeks. Overall, strong negative responses to ozone flux were found for root biomass, root nodule mass and N-fixation rates, and ozone adversely impacted a range of forage quality parameters including total sugar content and relative and consumable food values. These results indicate that increasing ozone pollution could decrease the N-use efficiency and reduce the sugar content of managed pasture, and thereby partially detract from some of the suggested benefits of HSG.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Emmett
ISSN: 0048-9697
Additional Keywords: climate-smart grass, ozone, nodulation, clover, forage quality
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Atmospheric Sciences
Date made live: 28 Sep 2016 13:30 +0 (UTC)

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