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Nocturnal water storage in plants having Crassulacean acid metabolism

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Measurements of water uptake and transpiration, during the dark period of plants having Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) allow calculation of leaf-volume changes (ΔV). Nocturnal leaf-volume changes of CAM plants have also been reported in the literature on the basis of waterdisplacement measurements. A third way of estimation is from measurements of turgor changes and cellular water-storage capacity using the pressure probe, cytomorphometry and the Scholander pressure chamber. An extension of the interpretation of results reported in the literature shows that for leaf succulent CAM plants the three different approaches give similar values of ΔV ranging between 2.3 and 10.7% (v/v). It is evident that nocturnal malic-acid accumulation osmotically drives significant water storage in CAM leaf tissue.

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Cc :

water-storage capacity

E :

transporation (evaporational water loss)

P :

turgor pressure

U :

water uptake

V :

cell volume


cell-wall elastic modulus


osmotic pressure


Crassulacean acid metabolism


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Lüttge, U. Nocturnal water storage in plants having Crassulacean acid metabolism. Planta 168, 287–289 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00402976

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Key words

  • Crassulacean acid metabolism
  • Water storage (nocturnal)