, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 185-194

Calculation of CO2 gas phase diffusion in leaves and its relation to stomatal resistance

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A new theory and experimental method was developed to measure the diffusion resistance to CO2 in the gas phase of mesophyll leaf tissue. Excised leaves were placed in a chamber and their net evaporation and CO2 assimilation rates measured at two different ambient pressures. These data were used to calculate CO2 gas phase diffusion resistances. A variety of field grown leaves were tested and the effects of various experimental errors considered. Increasing the gas phase diffusion resistance decreased transpiration more than it decreased CO2 assimilation. It was concluded that gas phase diffusion resistance associated with CO2 assimilation may sometimes be 100 or 200 s·m-1 greater than the resistance implied by transpiration rates. This may be due to longer path lengths for the CO2 diffusion, constricted in places by the shape and arrangement of mesophyll cells.