Impacts of CO2 leakage on plants and microorganisms: A review of results from CO2 release experiments and storage sites

Daegeun Ko, Gayoung Yoo, Seong Taek Yun, Haegeun Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, a process consisting of the separation and capture of CO2 from point sources and injection into deep geological reservoirs for long-term isolation from the atmosphere, is considered to be a promising technology that can mitigate global climate change. However, the risk of CO2 leakage from storage sites exists, and thus its impact on ecosystem functions needs to be understood for safe implementation of CCS. Plant and microbial parameters were monitored in artificial CO2 release experiments in the field and in greenhouses. In addition, plants and microorganisms were monitored in CO2 storage sites. We review the findings from these studies and suggest directions of future research for determining the impact of potential CO2 leakage from CCS sites on plants and microorganisms. Our review showed that under high levels of soil CO2, (i) plant stress response was visible within short period of time; (ii) dicots were more sensitive than monocots in most studies; and (iii) the responses of microorganisms were more diverse and harder to generalize than those of plants. Only a limited number of field and greenhouse experimental studies have been conducted so far, and thus more field and greenhouse experimental studies are needed to better understand the plant and microbial response to elevated soil CO2 levels and elucidate specific mechanisms underlying these responses. Determining the ecological impacts of geological CO2 storage and ensuring its environmental safety via such research will make CCS a more viable technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-338
Number of pages20
JournalGreenhouse Gases: Science and Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  • bio-indicators
  • carbon capture and storage
  • ecosystems
  • environmental impact assessment
  • microorganisms
  • plants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


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