, Volume 183, Issue 2, pp 178–184 | Cite as

Partitioning of photosynthetic electron flow between CO2 and O2 reduction in a C3 leaf (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) at different CO2 concentrations and during drought stress

  • Gabriel Cornic
  • Jean-Marie Briantais


Photosystem II chlorophyll fluorescence and leaf net gas exchanges (CO2 and H2O) were measured simultaneously on bean leaves (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) submitted either to different ambient CO2 concentrations or to a drought stress. When leaves are under photorespiratory conditions, a simple fluorescence parameter ΔF/ Fm (B. Genty et al. 1989, Biochem. Biophys. Acta 990, 87–92; ΔF = difference between maximum, Fm, and steady-state fluorescence emissions) allows the calculation of the total rate of photosynthetic electron-transport and the rate of electron transport to O2. These rates are in agreement with the measurements of leaf O2 absorption using 18O2 and the kinetic properties of ribulose-1,5bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase. The fluorescence parameter, ΔF/Fm, showed that the allocation of photosynthetic electrons to O2 was increased during the desiccation of a leaf. Decreasing leaf net CO2 uptake, either by decreasing the ambient CO2 concentration or by dehydrating a leaf, had the same effect on the partitioning of photosynthetic electrons between CO2 and O2 reduction. It is concluded that the decline of net CO2 uptake of a leaf under drought stress is only due, at least for a mild reversible stress (causing at most a leaf water deficit of 35%), to stomatal closure which leads to a decrease in leaf internal CO2 concentration. Since, during the dehydration of a leaf, the calculated internal CO2 concentration remained constant or even increased we conclude that this calculation is misleading under such conditions.

Key words

Chlorophyll fluorescence Drought stress Leaf (internal [CO2], net CO2 uptake) Phaseolus (photosynthesis) Photorespiration Photosynthesis (electron flow) 


Ca, Ci

ambient, leaf internal CO2 concentrations

Fm, Fo, Fs

maximum, minimal, steady-state fluorescence emission


variable fluorescence emission


photosynthetic photon flux density

qp, qN

photochemical, non-photochemical fluorescence quenching


ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriel Cornic
    • 1
  • Jean-Marie Briantais
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire d'écologie végétale, Université de Paris XIOrsayFrance

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