Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

A biochemical model of photosynthetic CO2 assimilation in leaves of C3 species


Various aspects of the biochemistry of photosynthetic carbon assimilation in C3 plants are integrated into a form compatible with studies of gas exchange in leaves. These aspects include the kinetic properties of ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase; the requirements of the photosynthetic carbon reduction and photorespiratory carbon oxidation cycles for reduced pyridine nucleotides; the dependence of electron transport on photon flux and the presence of a temperature dependent upper limit to electron transport. The measurements of gas exchange with which the model outputs may be compared include those of the temperature and partial pressure of CO2(p(CO2)) dependencies of quantum yield, the variation of compensation point with temperature and partial pressure of O2(p(O2)), the dependence of net CO2 assimilation rate on p(CO2) and irradiance, and the influence of p(CO2) and irradiance on the temperature dependence of assimilation rate.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


RuP2 :

ribulose bisphosphate




partial pressure of CO2


partial pressure of O2


photosynthetic carbon reduction


photorespiratory carbon oxidation


  1. Armand, P.A., Schreiber, U., Björkman, O. (1978) Photosynthetic acclimatization in the desert shrub Larrea divaricata. II. Light harvesting efficiency and electron transport. Plant Physiol. 61, 411–415

  2. Badger, M.R., Andrews, T.J. (1974) Effects of CO2, O2 and temperature on a high-affinity form of ribulose diphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase from spinach. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 60, 204–210

  3. Badgar, M.R., Collatz, G.J. (1977) Studies on the kinetic mechanism of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase and oxygenase reactions, with particular reference to the effect of temperature on kinetic parameters. Carnegic Inst Wash. Year Book 76, 355–61

  4. Berry, J., Farquhar, G. (1978) The CO2 concentrating function of C4 photosynthesis. A biochemical model. In: Proc. of the 4th International Congress on Photosynthesis, Reading, England, 1977, pp. 119–131, Hall, D., Coombs, J., Goodwin, T., eds. London. The Biochemical Soc.

  5. Björkman, O., Boardman, N.K., Anderson, J.M., Thorne, S.W., Goodchild, D.J., Pyliotis, N.A. (1972) Effect of light intensity during growth of Atriplex patula on the capacity of photosynthetic reactions, chloroplast components and structure. Carnegie Inst. Wash. Year Book 71, 115–135

  6. Charles-Edwards, D.A. (1979) Photosynthesis and crop growth. In: Photosynthesis and plant development, pp. 111–124, Marcelle, R., ed. The Hague, Junk

  7. Collatz, G.J. (1978) The interaction between photosynthesis and ribulose-P 2 concentration-effects of light, CO2 and O2. Carnegie Inst. Wash. Year Book 77, 248–251

  8. Ehleringer, J., Björkman, O. (1977) Quantum yields for CO2 uptake in C3 and C4 plants. Dependence on temperature, CO2 and O2 concentrations. Plant Physiol. 59, 86–90

  9. Farquhar, G.D. (1979) Models describing the kinetics of ribulose biphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 193, 456–468

  10. Graham, D. (in press) Effects of light on “dark” respiration. In: Biochemistry of plants. A comprehensive treatise, II, General metabolism and respiration. Davies, D.D., ed.

  11. Hall, A.E., Björkman, O. (1975) Model of leaf photosynthesis and respiration. In: Ecological studies 12. Gates, D.M., Schmerl, R.B., eds. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York

  12. Heber, U. (1976) Energy coupling in chloroplasts. J. Bioenerg. Biomembr. 8, 157–172

  13. Heldt, H.W. (1976) Metabolite carriers of chloroplasts. In: Transport in plants III. Intracellular interactions and transport processes, pp. 137–143. Stocking, C.R., Heber, C., eds. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York

  14. Jensen, R.G., Bahr, J.T. (1977) Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase oxygenase. Annu. Rev. Plant Physiol. 377–400

  15. Keys, A.J., Bird, I.F., Cornelius, M.J., Lea, P.J., Wallsgrove, R.M., Miflin, B.J. (1978) Photorespiratory nitrogen cycle. Nature (London) 275, 741–43

  16. Ku, S.-B., Edwards, G.E. (1977) Oxygen inhibition of photosynthesis. I. Temperature dependence and relation to O2/CO2 solubility ratio. Plant Physiol. 59, 986–990

  17. Laing, W.A., Ogren, W.L., Hageman, R.H. (1974) Regulation of soybean net photosynthetic CO2 fixation by the interaction of CO2, O2 and ribulose-1,5-diphosphate carboxylase. Plant Physiol. 55, 678–685

  18. Lilley, R. McC., Walker, D.A. (1975) Carbon dioxide assimilation by leaves, isolated chloroplasts and ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase from spinach. Plant Physiol. 55, 1087–1092

  19. Nobel, P.S., Zaragoza, L.J., Smith, W.K. (1975) Relation between mesophyll surface area, photosynthetic rate, and illumination level during development for leaves of Plectranthus parviflorus Henckel. Plant Physiol. 55, 1067–1070

  20. Nolan, W.G., Smillie, R.M. (1976) Multi temperature effects on Hill reaction activity of barley chloroplasts. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 440, 461–475

  21. Peisker, M. (1974) A model describing the influence of oxygen on photosynthetic carboxylation. Photosynthetica 8, 47–50

  22. Peisker, M. (1976) Ein Modell der Sauerstoffabhängigkeit des Photosynthetischen CO2-Gaswechsels von C3-Pflanzen. Kulturpflanzen 24, 221–235

  23. Peisker, M., Apel, P. (1977) Influence of oxygen on photosynthesis and photorespiration in leaves of Triticum aestivum L. 3. Response of CO2 gas exchange to oxygen at various temperatures. Photosynthetica 11, 29–37

  24. Sharpe, P.S.H., De Michelle, D.W. (1977) Reaction kinetics of poikilothermic development. J. Theor. Biol. 64, 649–70

  25. Singh, M., Ogren, W.L., Widholm, J.M. (1974) Photosynthetic characteristics of several C3 and C4 plant species grown under different light intensities. Crop Sci. 14, 563–566

  26. Tenhunen, J.D., Weber, J.A., Yocum, C.S., Gates, D.M. (1979) Solubility of gases and the temperature dependency of whole leaf affinities for carbon dioxide and oxygen. Plant Physiol. 63, 916–923

  27. West, K.R., Wiskich, J.T. (1968) Photosynthetic control by isolated pea chloroplasts. Biochem J. 109, 527–32

  28. Wong, S.C. (1979) Stomatal behaviour in relation to photosynthesis. Ph. D. Thesis A.N.U.

  29. Woo, K.C., Berry, J.A., Turner, G.L. (1978) Release and refixation of ammonia during photorespiration. Carnegie Inst. Wash. Year Book 77, 240–245

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Farquhar, G.D., von Caemmerer, S. & Berry, J.A. A biochemical model of photosynthetic CO2 assimilation in leaves of C3 species. Planta 149, 78–90 (1980).

Download citation

Key words

  • Electron transport
  • Leaf model
  • Light and CO2 assimilation
  • Ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase
  • Temperature
  • Photosynthesis (C3)