CO2 Exchange in Lichens: Towards a Mechanistic Model

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Photosynthesis, a process by which radiant energy is converted to chemical energy, is, of course, the essential foundation for most forms of life. To measure photosynthetic rate in atmospheric environments, one normally focuses on CO2 influx, which is partially balanced by respiratory CO2 efflux, and consequently the measurement of CO2 exchange in the light is called net photosynthesis (Pn). Ideally, to measure the absolute rate of CO2 incorporation, the enzyme activity of ribulose-1,5-biphosphate carboxylase, the enzyme controlling the incorporation of CO2 should be measuredin vivo. However, in practice it is much easier to measure CO2 exchange, particularly when dealing with a whole plant or intact portion thereof.