Leaf gas exchange and bean quality fluctuations over the whole canopy vertical profile of Arabic coffee cultivated under elevated CO2

Miroslava Rakocevic, Eunice R. Batista, Ricardo A.A. Pazianotto, Maria B.S. Scholz, Guilherme A.R. Souza, Eliemar Campostrini, José C. Ramalho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Leaves in different positions respond differently to dynamic fluctuations in light availability, temperature and to multiple environmental stresses. The current hypothesis states that elevated atmospheric CO2 (e[CO2]) can compensate for the negative effects of water scarcity regarding leaf gas exchanges and coffee bean quality traits over the canopy vertical profile, in interactions with light and temperature microclimate during the two final stages of berry development. Responses of Coffea arabica L. were observed in the 5th year of a free air CO2 enrichment experiment (FACE) under water-limited rainfed conditions. The light dependent leaf photosynthesis curves (A/PAR) were modelled for leaves sampled from vertical profile divided into four 50-cm thick layers. e[CO2] significantly increased gross photosynthesis (AmaxGross), the apparent quantum yield efficiency, light compensation point, light saturation point (LSP) and dark respiration rate (Rd). As a specific stage response, considering berry ripening, all parameters calculated from A/PAR were insensitive to leaf position over the vertical profile. Lack of a progressive increase in AmaxGross and LSP was observed over the whole canopy profile in both stages, especially in the two lowest layers, indicating leaf plasticity to light. Negative correlation of Rd to leaf temperature (TL) was observed under e[CO2] in both stages. Under e[CO2], stomatal conductance was also negatively correlated with TL, reducing leaf transpiration and Rd even with increasing TL. This indicated coffee leaf acclimation to elevated temperatures under e[CO2] and water restriction. The e[CO2] attenuation occurred under water restriction, especially in A and water use efficiency, in both stages, with the exception of the lowest two layers. Under e[CO2], coffee produced berries in moderate- and high light level layers, with homogeneous distribution among them, contrasted to the heterogeneous distribution under actual CO2. e[CO2] led to increased caffeine content in the highest layer, with reduction of chlorogenic acid and lipids under moderate light and to raised levels of sugar in the shaded low layer. The ability of coffee to respond to e[CO2] under limited soil water was expressed through the integrated individual leaf capacities to use the available light and water, resulting in final plant investments in new reproductive structures in moderate and high light level layers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-482
Number of pages14
JournalFunctional Plant Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Arabic coffee
  • berry development
  • climate stress
  • Coffea spp.
  • elevated [CO]
  • free air COenrichment
  • light intensity
  • photosynthesis
  • stomatal conductance
  • water use efficiency


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