Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 136, Issue 3, pp 345–355 | Cite as

On the source of non-linear light absorbance in photosynthetic samples

  • Jan NaušEmail author
  • Dušan Lazár
  • Barbora Baránková
  • Barbora Arnoštová
Original Article


This study presents a mathematical model, which expresses the absorbance of a photosynthetic sample as a non-linear polynomial of selected reference absorbance. The non-linearity is explained by inhomogeneities of a product of pigment concentration and light path length in the sample. The quadratic term of the polynomial reflects the extent of inhomogeneities, and the cubic term is related to deviation of the product distribution from a symmetric one. The model was tested by measurements of suspension of unstacked tobacco thylakoid membranes of different chlorophyll concentrations in cuvettes of different thicknesses. The absorbance was calculated from the diffuse transmittance and reflectance of sample, illuminated by perpendicular collimated light. The evaluated quantity was a sensitivity defined as the relative difference between the sample absorbance and the reference absorbance to the reference absorbance. The non-linearity of sample absorbance was demonstrated by a characteristic deviation of the sensitivity spectrum from a constant value. The absorbance non-linearity decreased on an increase of the product of pigment concentration and cuvette thickness. The model suggests that the sieve and detour effects influence the absorbance in a similar way. The model may be of interest in modeling of leaf or canopy optics including light absorption and scattering.


Concentration Light path length Model Remote sensing Sieve and detour effects Spatial inhomogeneity Asymmetry of inhomogeneity distribution 



This work was supported by Grant No. LO1204 from the National Program of Sustainability I, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Czech Republic, and by internal grants of Palacký University Olomouc no. IGA_PrF_2016_013 and IGA_PrF_2017_017.

Supplementary material

11120_2017_468_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1060 KB)


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biophysics, Faculty of Science, Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural ResearchPalacký UniversityOlomoucCzech Republic

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