, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 390–395 | Cite as

Effects of seasonal changes in the Midwest on Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) in Opuntia humifusa Raf

  • K. E. Koch
  • R. A. Kennedy


Seasonal changes in the Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) activity and growth characteristics of Opuntia humifusa Raf. were examined under midwest climatic conditions. Twenty-four hour studies were done at monthly intervals for two years, with diurnal changes in transpiration, gas exchange, and titratable acidity monitored under natural conditions. CAM activity was observed only from April to September, but occurred regardless of changes in temperature or precipitation. The maximum rate of dark CO2 uptake occurred in May, while greatest acid fluctuations coincided with flowering, new growth, and high tissue water content in June. In spite of conditions favorable for CAM, acidification and rate of dark CO2 assimilation decreased progressively through September as stem water content dropped and shoot production ceased. No CAM was evident during sub-zero winter months and tissue water content decreased to only 65% (Ψ<-20 bars). Winter survival of plants in test plots was found to be affected by the amount of water received the preceding growing season; the driest group showing the lowest mortality rate.

Although spring and autumn were considered periods likely to exhibit CAM, it was not observed during those months just prior to or immediately following winter (Oct. and March). Acid fluctuations were minimal with CO2 being taken up during the day and released at night, indicating some degree of flexibility in the CAM activity of Opuntia humifusa.


Assimilation Seasonal Change Titratable Acidity Monthly Interval Crassulacean Acid Metabolism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allaway, W.G., Osmond, C.B., Troughton, J.H.: Environmental regulation of growth, photosynthetic pathway and carbon isotope discrimination ratio in plants capable of crassulacean acid metabolism. In: Mechanisms of regulation of Plant Growth (R.L. Bieleski, A.R. Ferguson, M.M. Cresswell, eds.) pp. 195–205. Wellington: Bull. 12 R. Soc. N.A. 1974Google Scholar
  2. Bartholomew, B.: Drought response in the gas exchange of Dudleya farinosa (Crassulaceae) grown under natural conditions. Photosynthetica 7, 114–120 (1973)Google Scholar
  3. Bender, M.M., Rouhani, I., Vines, H.M., Black, C.C.: 13C/12C ratio changes in crassulacean acid metabolism plants. Plant Physiol 52, 427–430 (1973)Google Scholar
  4. Brandon, P.C.: Temperature features of enzymes affecting crassulacean acid metabolism. Plant Physiol. 42, 977–984 (1967)Google Scholar
  5. Brulfert, J., Guerrier, D., Quieroz, O.: Photoperiodism and enzyme rhythms. Kinetic characteristics of the photoperiodic induction of crassulacean acid metabolism. Planta 125, 33–44 (1975)Google Scholar
  6. Crews, E.E., Williams, S.L., Vines, H.M., Black, C.C.: Changes in the metabolism and physiology of crassulacean acid metabolism plants grown in controlled environments. In: CO2 Metabolism and Plant Productivity (R.H. Burris and C.C. Black, ed.), pp. 235–250. Baltimore: Univ. Park Press 1976Google Scholar
  7. Dinger, B.E., Patten, D.T.: Carbon dioxide exchange and transpiration in species of Echinocereus (Cactaceae), as related to their distribution within the Pinaleno Mountains, Arizona. Oecologia (Berl.) 14, 389–411 (1974)Google Scholar
  8. Eickmeier, W.G. Bender, M.M.: Carbon isotope ratios of crassulacean acid metabolism in relation to climate and phytosociology. Oecologia 25, 341–347 (1976)Google Scholar
  9. Greenway, H., Winter, K., Lüttge, V.: Phosphoenol pyruvate carboxylase during development of Crassulacean acid metabolism and during a diurnal cycle in Mesembryanthemum crystallinum. J. Exp. Bot. 29 (110), 547–559 (1978)Google Scholar
  10. Jones, M.B.: The effect of leaf age on leaf resistance and CO2 exchange of the CAM plant Bryophyllum fedtschenkoi. Planta 123, 91–96 (1975)Google Scholar
  11. Joshi, M.C., Boyer J.S., Kramer, P.J.: Growth, carbon dioxide exchange, transpiration and transpiration ratio of pineapple. Bot. Gaz. 126, 174–179 (1965)Google Scholar
  12. Kaplan, A., Gale, J., Poljakoff-Mayber, A.: Resolution of net dark fixation of carbon dioxide into its respiration and gross fixation components in Bryophyllum diagremontianum. J. Exp. Bot. 27, 220–230 (1976)Google Scholar
  13. Kluge, M., Lange, O.L., von Eichmann, M., Schmid, R.: Diurnaler Säurerhythmus bei Tillandsia usneoides: Untersuchungen über den Weg des Kohlenstoffs sowie die Abhängigkeit des CO2-Gaswechsels von Lichtintensität, Temperatur und Wassergehalt der Pflanze. Planta 112, 357–372 (1973)Google Scholar
  14. Lange, O.L., Schulze, E.D., Kappen, L., Evenari, M., Buschbom, U.: CO2 exchange pattern under natural conditions of Caralluma negevensis, a CAM plant of the Negev Desert. Photosynthetica 9, 318–326 (1975)Google Scholar
  15. Lerman, J.C., Quieroz, O.: Carbon fixation and isotope discrimination by a crassulacean plant: dependence on the photoperiod. Science 183, 1207–1209 (1974)Google Scholar
  16. Medina E.: Dark CO2 fixation, habitat preference, and evolution within the Bromeliaceae. Evolution 28, 677–686 (1974)Google Scholar
  17. Medina, E., Delgado, M.: Photosynthesis and night CO2 fixation in Echeveria columbiana v. Poellnitz. Photosynthetica 10, 155–163 (1976)Google Scholar
  18. Milburn, T.R., Pearson, D.J., Ndegwe, N.A.: Crassulacean acid metabolism under natural tropical conditions. New Phytol 67, 67, 883–897 (1968)Google Scholar
  19. Mooney, H.A., Troughton, J.H., Berry, J.A.: Arid climates and photosynthetic systems. Carnegie Inst. Wash. Yearb. 73, 793–805 (1974)Google Scholar
  20. Nalborczyk, E., Lacroix, L.J., Hill, R.D.: Environmental influence on light and dark CO2 fixation by Kalanchoë diagremontiana. Can. J. Bot. 53, 1132–1138Google Scholar
  21. Neals, T.F.: The effect of night temperature on CO2 assimilation, transpiration and water use efficiency in Agave americana L. Aust. J. Biol. Sci. 26, 705–714 (1973)Google Scholar
  22. Nishida, K.: Studies on stomatal movement of crassulacean plants in relation to the acid metabolism. Physiol. Plant. 16, 281–298 (1963)Google Scholar
  23. Nobel, P.S.: Water relations and photosynthesis of a barrel cactus, Ferrocactus acanthodes in the Colorado desert. Oecologia (Berl.) 27, 117–133 (1977)Google Scholar
  24. Osmond, C.B.: Environmental control of photosynthetic options in crassulacean plants. In. Environmental and Biological Control of Photosynthesis (R. Marcelle, ed.) pp. 311–312. The Hague: Junk 1975Google Scholar
  25. Osmond, C.B.: CO2 assimilation and dissimilation in the light and dark in CAM plants. In: CO2 Metabolism and Plant Productivity (R.H. Burris and C.C. Black, ed.), pp. 217–233. Baltimore: Univ. Park Press 1976Google Scholar
  26. Osmond, C.B., Allaway, W.G., Sutton, B.G.: Troughton, J.H., Quieroz, O., Lüttge, V., Winter, K.: Carbon isotope discrimination in photosynthesis of CAM plants. Nature 246, 41–42 (1973)Google Scholar
  27. Osmond, C.B., Bender, M.M., Burris, R.H.: Pathways of CO2 fixation in the CAM plant Kalanchoe diagremontiana III. Correlation with δ value during growth and water stress. Aust. J. Plant Physiol. 3, 787–799 (1976)Google Scholar
  28. Osmond, C.B., Nott, D.L., Firth, P.M.: Carbon assimilation patterns and growth of the introduced CAM plant Opuntia inermis in eastern Australia. Oecologia 40, 331–350 (1979)Google Scholar
  29. Shantz, H.L.: Drought resistance and soil moisture. Ecology 8, 145–157 (1927)Google Scholar
  30. Sutcliff, J.: Plants and water. 81 pp. New York: St. Martin's Press. 1968Google Scholar
  31. Sutton, B.G., Ting, I.P., Troughton, J.H.: Seasonal effects of carbon isotope composition of cactus in a desert environment. Nature 261, 42–43 (1976)Google Scholar
  32. Szarek, S.R., Johnson, H.B., Ting, I.P.: Drought adaptation in Opuntia basilaris. Significance of recycling carbon through crassulacean acid metabolism. Plant Physiol. 52, 539–541 (1973)Google Scholar
  33. Szarek, S.R., Ting, I.P.: Seasonal patterns of acid metabolism and gas exchange in Opuntia basilaris. Plant Physiol. 54, 76–81 (1974)Google Scholar
  34. Szarek, S.R., Ting, I.P.: Physiological responses to rainfall in Opuntia basilaris (cactaceae). Am. J. Bot. 62, 602–609 (1975)Google Scholar
  35. Szarek, S.R., Ting, I.P.: Photosynthetic efficiency of CAM plants in relation to C3 and C4 plants. In: Environmental and Biological control of Photosynthesis (R. Marcelle, ed.) pp. 289–298. The Hague: Junk 1975Google Scholar
  36. Ting, I.P., Hanscom, Z.: Induction of acid metabolism in Portulacaria afra. Plant Physiol. 59, 511–514 (1977)Google Scholar
  37. Winter, K., Troughton, J.H.: Carbon assimilation pathways in Mesembryanthenum nodiflorum L. under natural conditions Z. Pflanzenphysiol. Bd. 88, 153–162 (1978)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. E. Koch
    • 1
  • R. A. Kennedy
    • 1
  1. 1.Botany DepartmentUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA

Personalised recommendations