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Some relationships between the biochemistry of photosynthesis and the gas exchange of leaves


A series of experiments is presented investigating short term and long term changes of the nature of the response of rate of CO2 assimilation to intercellular p(CO2). The relationships between CO2 assimilation rate and biochemical components of leaf photosynthesis, such as ribulose-bisphosphate (RuP2) carboxylase-oxygenase activity and electron transport capacity are examined and related to current theory of CO2 assimilation in leaves of C3 species. It was found that the response of the rate of CO2 assimilation to irradiance, partial pressure of O2, p(O2), and temperature was different at low and high intercellular p(CO2), suggesting that CO2 assimilation rate is governed by different processes at low and high intercellular p(CO2). In longer term changes in CO2 assimilation rate, induced by different growth conditions, the initial slope of the response of CO2 assimilation rate to intercellular p(CO2) could be correlated to in vitro measurements of RuP2 carboxylase activity. Also, CO2 assimilation rate at high p(CO2) could be correlated to in vitro measurements of electron transport rate. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that CO2 assimilation rate is limited by the RuP2 saturated rate of the RuP2 carboxylase-oxygenase at low intercellular p(CO2) and by the rate allowed by RuP2 regeneration capacity at high intercellular p(CO2).

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von Caemmerer, S., Farquhar, G.D. Some relationships between the biochemistry of photosynthesis and the gas exchange of leaves. Planta 153, 376–387 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00384257

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Key words

  • CO2 assimilation
  • Electron transport
  • Gas exchange
  • Phaseolus
  • Photosynthesis (C3)
  • Ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase