Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 89–102 | Cite as

Can CO2 assimilation in maize leaves be predicted accurately from chlorophyll fluorescence analysis?

  • Gerald E. Edwards
  • Neil R. Baker


Analysis is made of the energetics of CO2 fixation, the photochemical quantum requirement per CO2 fixed, and sinks for utilising reductive power in the C4 plant maize. CO2 assimilation is the primary sink for energy derived from photochemistry, whereas photorespiration and nitrogen assimilation are relatively small sinks, particularly in developed leaves. Measurement of O2 exchange by mass spectrometry and CO2 exchange by infrared gas analysis under varying levels of CO2 indicate that there is a very close relationship between the true rate of O2 evolution from PS II and the net rate of CO2 fixation. Consideration is given to measurements of the quantum yields of PS II (φPS II) from fluorescence analysis and of CO2 assimilation (\(\phi _{CO_2 } \)) in maize over a wide range of conditions. The\({{\phi _{PSII} } \mathord{\left/ {\vphantom {{\phi _{PSII} } {\phi _{CO_2 } }}} \right. \kern-\nulldelimiterspace} {\phi _{CO_2 } }}\) ratio was found to remain reasonably constant (ca. 12) over a range of physiological conditions in developed leaves, with varying temperature, CO2 concentrations, light intensities (from 5% to 100% of full sunlight), and following photoinhibition under high light and low temperature. A simple model for predicting CO2 assimilation from fluorescence parameters is presented and evaluated. It is concluded that under a wide range of conditions fluorescence parameters can be used to predict accurately and rapidly CO2 assimilation rates in maize.

Key words

C4 photosynthesis chlorophyll fluorescence CO2 assimilation maize Photosystem II quantum yield 



measured rate of CO2 assimilation

A* (=A+RL)

the rate of CO2 assimilation corrected for dark-type mitochondrial respiration


maximal yield of PS II chlorophylla fluorescence resulting from a saturating flash of white light under a given steady-state photosynthesis


variable yield of fluorescence under steady-state photosynthesis


light absorbed by the leaf


light absorbed by PS II


rate of whole chain electron transport


rate of O2 evolution from PS II


photosynthetic photon flux density


rate of mitochondrial respiration in the dark


rate of respiration in the light (independent of photorespiration)


ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase


velocity of Rubisco carboxylase


velocity of Rubisco oxygenase


velocity of CO2 release by photorespiration

\(\phi _{CO_2 } \)

apparent quantum yield of CO2 assimilation (A/absorbed PPFD)

\(\phi _{CO_2 ^ \cdot } \)

quantum yield of CO2 assimilation corrected for dark-type respiration [(A+RL)/absorbed PPFD]

\(\phi _{O_2 ^ \cdot } \)

quantum yield for photosynthetic O2 evolution


quantum yield of PS II photochemistry (electron flux through PS II/rate of photon absorption by PS II antennae)


\({{\alpha - \phi _{PSII} } \mathord{\left/ {\vphantom {{\alpha - \phi _{PSII} } {\phi _{CO_2 ^ \cdot } }}} \right. \kern-\nulldelimiterspace} {\phi _{CO_2 ^ \cdot } }}\) ratio


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald E. Edwards
    • 1
  • Neil R. Baker
    • 2
  1. 1.Botany DepartmentWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of EssexColchesterUK

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