The decomposability of fine roots and their potential to contribute to soil carbon (C) is partly regulated by their tissue chemical composition. In a recent Editor’s Choice article published in AoB PLANTS, Suseela et al. examined the effects of elevated CO2 and warming on the quantity and composition of suberin in the roots of a C4 and C3 grass species. Elevated CO2 and warming altered the content and composition of suberin in roots of the C4 species, which could alter the rate of root decomposition. However, suberin in the C3 species was less responsive to climate treatments, suggesting that climate change-induced alterations in species composition will further mediate potential suberin contributions to soil carbon pools.
Suseela, V., Tharayil, N., Pendall, E., & Rao, A. M. (2017). Warming and elevated CO2 alter the suberin chemistry in roots of photosynthetically divergent grass species. AoB PLANTS, 9(5). http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aobpla/plx041