iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


The use of branch enclosures to assess direct and indirect effects of elevated CO2 on photosynthesis, respiration and isoprene emission of Populus alba leaves

Federico Brilli (1)   , Domenico Tricoli (1), Silvano Fares (1), Mauro Centritto (2), Francesco Loreto (1)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 49-54 (2008)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor0429-0010049
Published: Feb 28, 2008 - Copyright © 2008 SISEF

Research Articles

We used a novel system of branch enclosures to study the impact of elevated CO2 (900 ppm) on the gas-exchange characteristics of developed and developing leaves of white poplar (Populus alba L.), as well as of leaves subsequently developing at ambient CO2, outside the enclosures in which the CO2 concentration was raised. We found no significant effect of elevated CO2 on photosynthesis, respiration and isoprene emission, as the rates of developed and developing leaves inside the enclosures, and of leaves developing outside the enclosures, were similar to those recorded using enclosures maintained at ambient CO2. The enclosure system, however, largely influenced the rates of gas-exchange. In fact, leaves already developed inside the enclosures showed rates of photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, and isoprene emission higher than leaves developing inside the enclosures, and also higher than leaves developing outside the enclosure. These differences were caused by a higher efficiency in the light use and by a higher Ribulose 1.5 bisphosphate carboxylase (Rubisco) activity in leaves fully developed inside enclosures than in the other leaf classes. The experiment overall suggests that branch enclosures may alter the physiology of the plants, reducing or counteracting the impact of elevated CO2, which we predicted to stimulate photosynthesis and uncouple isoprene emission from photosynthesis. This may be an important bias against the use of enclosure systems for studies of the impact of environmental constraints and global change factors on physiological features.


Populus alba, Elevated CO2, Branch Enclosure, Photosynthesis, Isoprene Emission

Authors’ address

Federico Brilli
Domenico Tricoli
Silvano Fares
Francesco Loreto
CNR - Istituto di Biologia Agroambientale e Forestale, v. Salaria Km. 29.300, I-00016 Monterotondo Scalo, RM (Italy)
Mauro Centritto
CNR - Istituto sull’Inquinamento Atmosferico, v. Salaria Km. 29.300, I-00016 Monterotondo Scalo, RM (Italy)

Corresponding author

Federico Brilli


Brilli F, Tricoli D, Fares S, Centritto M, Loreto F (2008). The use of branch enclosures to assess direct and indirect effects of elevated CO2 on photosynthesis, respiration and isoprene emission of Populus alba leaves. iForest 1: 49-54. - doi: 10.3832/ifor0429-0010049

Paper history

Received: Mar 09, 2006
Accepted: Jan 01, 2007

First online: Feb 28, 2008
Publication Date: Feb 28, 2008
Publication Time: 14.10 months

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