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Thermal acclimation of the temperature dependence of the VCmax of Rubisco in quinoa

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Changes in the temperature dependence of the maximum carboxylation capacity (VCmax) of Rubisco during thermal acclimation of PN remain controversial. I tested for acclimation of the temperature dependence of VCmax in quinoa, wheat, and alfalfa. Plants were grown with day/night temperatures of 12/6, 20/14, and 28/22°C. Responses of PN to substomatal CO2 (Ci) and CO2 at Rubisco (Cc) were measured at leaf temperatures of 10–30°C. VCmax was determined from the initial slope of the PNvs. Ci or Cc curve. Slopes of linear regressions of 1/VCmaxvs. 1/T [K] provided estimates the activation energy. In wheat and alfalfa the increases in activation energy with growth temperature calculated using Ci did not always occur when using Cc, indicating the importance of mesophyll conductance when estimating the activation energy. However, in quinoa, the mean activation energy approximately doubled between the lowest and highest growth temperatures, whether based on Ci or Cc.

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C i :

[CO2] in the substomatal (intercellular) airspace

C c :

[CO2] at Rubisco


mesophyll conductance to CO2


the maximum rate of photosynthetic electron transport

KmCO2 :

the Michaelis constant of Rubisco carboxylation

P N :

net photosynthetic rate

VCmax :

the maximum rate of carboxylation of Rubisco

ΔHa :

activation energy


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Correspondence to J.A. Bunce.

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Bunce, J. Thermal acclimation of the temperature dependence of the VCmax of Rubisco in quinoa. Photosynthetica 56, 1171–1176 (2018).

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Additional key words

  • carboxylation
  • mesophyll conductance
  • photosynthesis