, Volume 194, Issue 1, pp 77–85 | Cite as

The relation between plant growth and respiration: A thermodynamic model

  • Lee D. Hansen
  • Mark S. Hopkin
  • David R. Rank
  • Thimmappa S. Anekonda
  • R. William Breidenbach
  • Richard S. Criddle


A thermodynamic model describing the relation between plant growth and respiration rates is derived from mass-and enthalpy-balance equations. The specific growth rate and the substrate carbon conversion efficiency are described as functions of the metabolic heat rate, the rate of CO2 production, the mean oxidation state of the substrate carbon produced by photosynthesis, and enthalpy changes for conversion of photosynthate to biomass and CO2. The relation of this new model to previous models based only on mass-balance equations is explored. Metabolic heat rate is shown to be a useful additional measure of respiration rates in plant tissues because it leads to a more explicit description of energy relations. Preliminary data on three Zea mays (L.) cultivars are reported. The model suggests new rationales for plant selection, breeding and genetic engineering that could lead to development of plants with more desirable growth rates.

Key words

Energy efficiency Growth Metabolic heat rate Model (thermodynamic) Respiration Zea 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lee D. Hansen
    • 1
  • Mark S. Hopkin
    • 1
  • David R. Rank
    • 2
  • Thimmappa S. Anekonda
    • 2
  • R. William Breidenbach
    • 3
  • Richard S. Criddle
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  2. 2.Section of Molecular and Cellular BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  3. 3.Department of Agronomy and Range ScienceUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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