Research Article

Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 93, Issue 1, pp 223-234

First online:

E-photosynthesis: a comprehensive modeling approach to understand chlorophyll fluorescence transients and other complex dynamic features of photosynthesis in fluctuating light

  • Ladislav NedbalAffiliated withInstitute of Systems Biology and Ecology ASCRInstitute of Physical Biology, University of South Bohemia Email author 
  • , Jan ČervenýAffiliated withInstitute of Systems Biology and Ecology ASCRInstitute of Physical Biology, University of South BohemiaCentre of Applied Cybernetics, Czech Technical University
  • , Uwe RascherAffiliated withInstitute of Chemistry and Dynamics of the Geosphere ICG-III: Phytosphere
  • , Henning SchmidtAffiliated withFraunhofer-Chalmers Research Centre

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Plants are exposed to a temporally and spatially heterogeneous environment, and photosynthesis is well adapted to these fluctuations. Understanding of the complex, non-linear dynamics of photosynthesis in fluctuating light requires novel-modeling approaches that involve not only the primary light and dark biochemical reactions, but also networks of regulatory interactions. This requirement exceeds the capacity of the existing molecular models that are typically reduced to describe a partial process, dynamics of a specific complex or its particular dynamic feature. We propose a concept of comprehensive model that would represent an internally consistent, integral framework combining information on the reduced models that led to its construction. This review explores approaches and tools that exist in engineering, mathematics, and in other domains of biology that can be used to develop a comprehensive model of photosynthesis. Equally important, we investigated techniques by which one can rigorously reduce such a comprehensive model to models of low dimensionality, which preserve dynamic features of interest and, thus, contribute to a better understanding of photosynthesis under natural and thus fluctuating conditions. The web-based platform is introduced as an arena where these concepts and tools are being introduced and tested.


Chlorophyll fluorescence emission Forced oscillations Non-linearity Photosystem II System biology System decomposition Model reduction