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Effect of Carbon Dioxide on Plant Growth



Gases affect growth in plants. As a gas, therefore, Carbon dioxide is one of the factors that can affect the growth of plants. An experiment was carried out to investigate effect of CO2 in plants. Our null hypothesis H0=No significant difference in growth of tomatoes under different carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere against Alternative hypothesis Ha= There is a significant impact of different CO2 levels on plant growth.

seedlings was performed under different levels of carbon dioxide.Solanum lycopersicum) A glasshouse experiment using tomatoes (To investigate whether carbon dioxide can affect the growth of plants over time,


Seedlings of the same age post germination were obtained. Fifteen seedlings were harvested immediately, dried and weighed while the remaining seedlings were grown in one of three levels of carbon dioxide for eight weeks. Fifteen seedlings were placed in each treatment. After eight weeks the plants were harvested and weighed (fresh weight). They were then placed in an oven to dry out and reweighed to obtain the dry weight. The results of the total dry weight measurements recorded and average weight for each set taken.

Results and Analysis.Professor (Tutor)Figure 1: Average weight of tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum) in different CO2 levels.

T test value

Significant (Yes/no)

Initial vs Low

Initial vs Normal


Initial vs High


Low vs normal


Low vs High


Normal vs High


Table1. T test results for the comparison of growth of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) in different CO2 levels.

From Figure1, there is a higher growth in higher levels of CO2. From table1, it can be seen that significance of the difference in growth of plants increases with the increasing significance of the difference in CO2 levels. This can be read from the t test results. Growth in plants increases with increasing carbon dioxide (Morison and Morecroft, 2006).


Photosynthesis is the process by which plants make food. The process is enhanced by increasing carbon dioxide (from the environment/atmosphere) supply as illustrated in the simple equation below.

Plant growth depends on the process of respiration. This is the process of by which food material is broken down to energy. The energy in turn supports plant growth (thus weight) and development. A higher process of respiration is supported by a higher food supply (Smith and Dukes, 2012).


Carbon dioxide affects the growth of plants. High Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere enhance the process of growth in plants, other factors notwithstanding.


Morison, J. and Morecroft, M. (2006). Plant growth and climate change. Oxford: Blackwell Pub.

Smith, N. and Dukes, J. (2012). Plant respiration and photosynthesis in global-scale models: incorporating acclimation to temperature and CO 2. Glob Change Biol, 19(1), pp.45-63.