Universität Bonn

INRES Pflanzenbau

Sino – German Mobility Program

Securing crop productivity through adaptation to air pollution and climate change


Rise in carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations that has been observed since the onset of the industrial revolution which will continue in the 21st century, has ambivalent effects on crops. On the one hand, CO2 is required by plants as a source of carbon through photosynthesis. Therefore, rising CO2 levels may stimulate plant growth and crop yields. On the other hand, due to its radiative forcing, CO2 is responsible for a large share of the anthropogenic climate change and global warming, which will negatively affect crop production by favoring drought and heat stress. Another important trace gas that affects crop production is ozone (O3) which is formed in the troposphere from precursor pollutants such as NOx, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds under the influence of high temperatures and solar radiation. When taken up into plants during photosynthetic gas exchange, it causes oxidative stress leading to loss of photosynthetic capacity and yields. The overall aim of this project is to better understand the single and interactive effects of these factors on crop production and to devise strategies of adapting crop production to future atmospheric trace gas composition and warming. This project will combine expertise and research facilities from leading groups in this field of research from China and Germany.

University of Bonn will contribute expertise in the field of crop modeling and using crop models for climate change impact assessments as well as modeling O3 effects on crops. University of Bonn will organize the academic exchange, meeting, and collaboration based on this expertise with other German and Chinese partners.



Dr. Thuy Huu Nguyen
Dr. Thomas Gaiser
Prof. Dr. Frank Ewert






  • China:
    School of Applied Meteorology, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology
    Nanjing Agricultural University Crop Science group
    Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Science
  • Germany:
    Justus Liebig Universität Gießen
    IBG2-Juelich Research Center;


Agathokleous, E., Frei, M., Knopf, O. M., Muller, O., Xu, Y., Nguyen, T. H., Gaiser, T., Ewert, F., Feng, Z. (2023): Adapting crop production to climate change and air pollution at different scales. Nature Food, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s43016-023-00858-y.

Feng, Y., Nguyen, T.H., Alam, M.S., Emberson, L., Gaiser, T., Ewert, F., Frei, M., (2022). Identifying and modelling key physiological traits that confer tolerance or sensitivity to ozone in winter wheat. Environmental Pollution 304, 119251

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