Effects of Light Intensity and Carbohydrate Status on Leaf and Root Respiration

  • Ko NoguchiEmail author
Part of the Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration book series (AIPH, volume 18)


A positive correlation has been observed between dark respiration and carbohydrate status/light intensity during prior illumination in both leaves and roots of many species. This correlation is often ascribed to an indirect effect: changes in carbohydrate status/light intensity are thought to influence various ATP-consuming processes (growth, maintenance and ion uptake), and adenylate demands for these processes are thought to restrict respiration rates. However, some data clearly indicate that this correlation is partly caused by a direct effect of carbohydrate as substrates for respiration both in leaves and in roots. In leaves of some species, in vivo activity of the alternative oxidase (AOX) in mitochondria is high when carbohydrate status is high (e.g., leaves after illumination), and AOX would have an important role as an energy-overflow pathway, while this correlation between carbohydrate status and in vivo AOX activity does not exist in leaves of other species. These different responses to carbohydrate status among plant species may be related to their ecological traits. However, the significance and physiological mechanisms of these different responses are still unknown. Day respiration (non-photorespiratory mitochondrial CO2 production or O2 consumption in the light) also depends on light intensity, although measurements of day respiration are still hard to make. High-light intensity induces fast rates of O2 uptake in the light which would support fast rates of photosynthesis; rates of CO2 production in the light also depend on light intensities under low irradiances. Growth light intensity also has a direct influence on dark respiration, especially at photo-oxidative light intensities. If excess light intensity overwhelms avoiding and scavenging systems in leaves, photoinhibition in photosystems occurs in leaves. Under these conditions, non-phosphorylating pathways, such as AOX and uncoupling protein, would consume reducing equivalents efficiently, and prevent the over-reduction in the electron transfer of chloroplasts and mitochondria.


Root Respiration Dark Respiration Leaf Respiration Exogenous Sucrose Carbohydrate Status 
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© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, Graduate School of ScienceOsaka UniversityToyonaka, OsakaJapan

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