The effect of long-term exposure to elevated levels of CO2 on biomass partitioning, net photosynthesis and starch metabolism was examined in cotton. Plants were grown under controlled conditions at 350, 675 and 1000 μl l(-1) CO2. Plants grown at 675 and 1000 μl l(-1) had 72% and 115% more dry weight respectively than plants grown at 350 μl l(-1). Increases in weight were partially due to corresponding increases in leaf starch. CO2 enrichment also caused a decrease in chlorophyll concentration and a change in the chlorophyll a/b ratio. High CO2 grown plants had lower photosynthetic capacity than 350 μl l(-1) grown plants when measured at each CO2 concentration. Reduced photosynthetic rates were correlated with high internal (non-stomatal) resistances and higher starch levels. It is suggested that carbohydrate accumulation causes a decline in photosynthesis by feedback inhibition and/or physical damage at the chloroplast level.