Elevated CO2 Enhances Health-Promoting Properties of Oil Palms
Ibrahim, M.H. and Jaafar, H.Z.E. 2012. Impact of elevated carbon dioxide on primary, secondary metabolites and antioxidant responses of Eleais guineensis Jacq. (oil palm) seedlings. Molecules 17: 5195-5211.
Over a period of 15 weeks, Ibrahim and Jaafar grew initially-five-month-old seedlings of three progenies of oil palm (deli AVROS, Deli Yangambi and Deli URT) within growth chambers maintained at atmospheric CO2 concentrations of either 400, 800 or 1200 ppm, during which time they measured a large number of important plant properties and processes. And what did their study reveal?
The two Malaysian researchers report that the production of total flavonoids and phenolics was highest under 1200 and lowest at 400 ppm CO2, and that "the antioxidant activity, as determined by the ferric reducing/antioxidant potential (FRAP) activity increased with increasing CO2 levels." In leaves, for example, they say that "total flavonoids was enhanced by 86% and 132%, respectively, in 800 and 1200 ppm compared to 400 ppm CO2," while total phenolics "increased by 52% to 91% under elevated CO2 compared to the ambient CO2 condition."
Ibrahim and Jaafar conclude that their results "suggest that enrichment with higher than ambient CO2 level is able to enhance the production of gallic acid and rutin in oil palm seedlings," which finding is important because these bioactive components, as they describe them, "act as free radical scavengers, and hence can reduce the possibilities of major diseases such as cancers of leukemia, breast, bone and lung," citing Kaufman et al. (1999) and Wink (1999).
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