Photosynthesis and Production in a Changing Environment

pp 232-246

Carbon partitioning

  • J. F. Farrar

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Leaves are where most photosynthesis occurs, but seeds and storage roots form the bulk of food sources. It follows that photosynthesis itself is an inadequate measure of food production, and the fate of carbon fixed in photosynthesis needs to be studied carefully. There is every likelihood that the factors controlling partitioning will be different in general or in detail from those that affect photosynthesis, and it is impossible with current knowledge to predict how, for example, an increased supply of photosynthate (which may come from increased partial pressures of atmospheric СО2) will be partitioned. Indeed, the control of partitioning between organs is scarcely understood, and whole plant and crop models mainly use, as a gesture of despair, a simple partitioning coefficient to describe the proportion of photosynthate passing to the root.