, Volume 174, Issue 2, pp 253-262

The relationship between contents of photosynthetic metabolites and the rate of photosynthetic carbon assimilation in leaves of Amaranthus edulis L.

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Abstract

The relationship between the gas-exchange characteristics of attached leaves of Amaranthus edulis L. and the contents of photosynthetic intermediates was examined in response to changing irradiance and intercellular partial pressure of CO2. After determination of the rate of CO2 assimilation at known intercellular CO2 pressure and irradiance, the leaf was freeze-clamped and the contents of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate, glycerate-3-phosphate, fructose-1,6-bisphosphate, glucose-6-phosphate, fructose-6-phosphate, triose phosphates, phosphoenolpyruvate, pyruvate, oxaloacetate, aspartate, alanine, malate and glutamate were measured. A comparison between the sizes of metabolite pools and theoretical calculations of metabolite gradients required for transport between the mesophyll and the bundle-sheath cells showed that aspartate, alanine, glycerate-3-phosphate and triose phosphates were present in sufficient quantities to support transport by diffusion, whereas pyruvate and oxaloacetate were not likely to contribute appreciably to the flux of carbon between the two cell types. The amounts of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate were high at low intercellular partial pressures of CO2, and fell rapidly as the CO2-assimilation rate increased with increasing intercellular partial pressures of CO2, indicating that bundle-sheath CO2 concentrations fell at low intercellular partial pressures of CO2. In contrast, the amount of phosphoenolpyruvate and of C4-cycle intermediates declined at low intercellular partial pressures of CO2. This behaviour is discussed in relation to the co-ordination of carbon assimilation between the Calvin and C4 cycles.