Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) have been increasing steadily over the last century. Plants grown under elevated CO2 experience physiological changes that influence their suitability as food. Previous studies have found increased insect herbivory on plants grown under elevated CO2. To determine effects of consuming foliage of soybean (Glycine max) grown under elevated CO2 on adult survivorship and fecundity, Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica Newman) were fed for the duration of their adult lives leaves grown under elevated CO2 (550 μmol/mol), under ambient atmosphere (370 μmol/mol), or grown under ambient atmosphere but supplemented with a solution of sugars. To determine effects of a diet of foliage grown under elevated ozone (O3), another anthropogenic gaseous pollutant, beetles in the laboratory were fed soybean leaves grown under elevated CO2, elevated O3, or a combination of both elevated gases. Leaf tissue was also analyzed for longevity-enhancing antioxidants, because increases in dietary antioxidants can increase lifespan. Lifespan of Japanese beetles was prolonged by 8–25% when fed foliage developed under elevated CO2, but consuming foliage that had taken up sugars to approximately the same level as foliage grown under elevated CO2 had no effect on fecundity or longevity. Females consuming elevated CO2 foliage laid approximately twice as many eggs as females fed foliage grown under ambient conditions. Consuming foliage grown under elevated O3 had no effect on fecundity. No significant differences in total antioxidant content of foliage from ambient and elevated CO2 conditions were detected. Although the precise mechanism is unclear, by altering components of leaf chemistry other than sugar content, elevated CO2 may increase populations of Japanese beetles and their impact on crop productivity.
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