Stable Isotope Ecology and Ecosystems Functioning

Climacoffee - Implications of environmental changes of CO2 and temperature at the plant and bean quality levels in the coffee tree (Coffea spp.) - Multidisciplinary characterization of the impact and acclimation ability of the producing species

  • FCT
  • National Research Project
  • 2013 to 2015

Coffea arabica L. and Coffea canephora Pierre ex A. Froehn together are responsible for 99% of world coffee bean production, generating ca. 500 million jobs and ca. 100.000 millions USD/year, constituting the social and economic basis of many tropical developing countries. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates an alteration of climate scenario, with major agricultural and ecological implications, namely to coffee production. Using IPCC estimates and considering a scenario of mean air temperature rise up to 5.8ºC, dramatic reductions of adequate areas for C. arabica in Brazil, between 75% (Paraná) and 95% (Goiás, Minas Gerais and São Paulo) are expected. That clearly demonstrates the need to understand the levels of impact on the plant and to select tolerant plants to higher temperatures (6) and increased [CO2] levels. Also, there is no knowledge concerning the impact on the coffee bean quality (thus, in the obtained beverage) under these new environmental conditions. 

We propose to study the individual and combined impact of increased levels of [CO2] and temperature (the later will induce cellular oxidative stress, while the first might alleviate it) in C. arabica and C. canephora, in order to explore the acclimation ability. The implications to coffee industry will also be considered, through the chemical characterization of the produced green bean, with particular attention to compounds with known impact in the quality of the beverage (e.g., caffeine, trigonelline, chlorogenic acids and hydroxycinnamic acids).

Funding Institution:

Science and Technology Foundation (FCT - PTDC/AGR-PRO/3386/2012).


Project Leader: José Cochico Ramalho, Instituto de Investigação Científica e Tropical, I.P. (IICT) (IICT/MNE).

Partners: Instituto de Investigação Científica e Tropical (IICT/MNE); Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária, Centro Nacional de Pesquisa de Monitoramento e Avaliação de Impacto Ambiental ((EMBRAPA, CNPMA)); Fundação da Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa (FFC/FC/UL); Fundação da Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia (FFCT/FCT/UNL); Instituto Nacional de Recursos.