Flavonoid Production in a CO2-Enriched Medicinal Plant
Moghaddam, S.S., Jaafar, H.B., Aziz, M.A., Ibrahim, R., Rahmat, A.B. and Philip, E. 2011. Flavonoid and leaf gas exchange responses of Centella asiatica to acute gamma irradiation and carbon dioxide enrichment under controlled environment conditions. Molecules 16: 8930-8944.
In the present study, authors Moghaddam et al. (2011) grew well watered and fertilized C. asiatica plants for four to five weeks in individual polybags filled with a 1:1:1 mix of sand, coco dust and compost within controlled environment chambers, where CO2 concentrations of 400 and 800 ppm were maintained "for two hours every day between 8:30 to 10:30 am," at the ends of which four- to five-week periods the plants were harvested and their leaves assessed for total biomass and total flavonoid content, the latter of which set of substances is considered to be the source of the many health benefits attributed to the species. And what did the authors find upon harvest?
Moghaddam et al. report that the daily two-hour 400-ppm increase in the controlled environment chambers' atmospheric CO2 concentration led to a 193% increase in C. asiatica leaf biomass, a 264% increase in plant water use efficiency, as well as a 171% increase in leaf total flavonoid content.
The six Malaysian scientists conclude that "collectively, the enhancement in yield and quality provides an economic motivation to produce a consistent pharmaceutical-grade product for commercial purposes," via what they describe as "controlled environment plant production." And it also stands to reason that the ongoing rise in the atmosphere's CO2 concentration should gradually increase the medicinal potency of C. asiatica plants either growing wild or cultivated out-of-doors.