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Can breathing on plants help them grow?

  1. Feb 14, 2010 #1
    Plants require carbon dioxide to carry out photosynthesis. Can breathing on them encourage growth?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2010 #2

    jim mcnamara

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    Staff: Mentor

    If the stomates on the leaves are open when your breathe on them, yes very slightly.
    Actually just you being alive in the room with the plant, may increase the CO2 levels a small amount, depending on room ventilation.
  4. Feb 16, 2010 #3
  5. Feb 16, 2010 #4
    If it does the effect will be too small to measure I would have to guess. I wonder though what the effects would be of growing plants in a room with say double the atmospheric content of co2.
  6. Feb 16, 2010 #5
    I think the rate increases to a maximum value determined by CO2 content and other factors such as illumination level and temperature.
  7. Feb 16, 2010 #6
    not sure, but CO2 fertilization is quite popular for freshwater planted aquariums.

    i was thinking it would make a neat school experiment to grow plants in a plastic-sealed enclosure, but put an opened soda bottle inside one each day so that it releases CO2 as it goes flat. maybe there would be a difference in growth after a month.
  8. Feb 16, 2010 #7
    That is a very interesting thought indeed.
  9. Feb 16, 2010 #8
    Is this an established technique for commercial applications? Anybody know how effective this is and how far it can be taken? Edit: I did a quick google search but was overwhelmed by discussions of global warming:yuck:. I'd try harder but I really need to study.
  10. Feb 16, 2010 #9
    I had Googled it myself but found next to nothing. I doubt it's a commercial application, but I'll keep looking.
  11. Feb 17, 2010 #10


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    This came up in a discussion at lunch one day (we had a half-joking conversation about how to rapidly agave plants and take advantage of the slowdown in Mexico to corner the Tequeila market), but someone mentioned that they'd heard that high (as in many percent, and not parts per million) carbon dioxide concentration would get you bigger but sickly plants. I think the Wikipedia has something in this vein:

    I Googled for 'high partial pressure co2 plant growth' and found this article at PNAS (which uses the PACE facility mentioned on the Wikipedia page):

    I think we came to the conclusion that while we'd get more agave mash, the quality and sugars wouldn't be there. Though it might be possible to supply the sugars prior to fermentation, if not exactly any of the rest.
  12. Feb 17, 2010 #11
    I do believe that makes a lot of sense.
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