Photosynthesis/carbon assimilation in CAM plants

Harald Teicher hteicher at
Thu Nov 23 11:03:14 EST 1995

[ Article crossposted from bionet.plants ]
[ Author was Sren Laurentius Nielsen ]
[ Posted on Mon, 20 Nov 1995 13:28:05 GMT ]

For some years I have worked with intrinsic factors that are likely to
limit/regulate plant photosynthesis. With intrinsic factors I mean parameters
such as specific leaf area (SLA) and other architectural parameters,
chlorophyll content and concentration, N and P content etc. I have recently
become interested in CAM plants. Due to their succulence, these plants
usually have very thick photosynthetic structures (stems or leaves), which
serves them in enabling them to store large quantities of water. However, CAM
plants have to pay a price for this: They have low concentrations of N and P,
as well as of chlorophyll (this is based on my own measurements as well as on
literature values), and they are also reported in the literature to have
low growth rates. I would very much like to compare the capacity for
photosynthesis (or perhaps rather the capacity for carbon assimilation) of CAM
plants with similar capacities for C3 and C4 plants. However, because CAM
plants assimilate most of their carbon during night, you can not just go out
and measure P-I curves as you can with C3 and C4 plants. I would therefore
very much like to hear from people who have any ideas or suggestions on how
and under which circumstances to measure and express rates of photosynthesis
or carbon assimilation in CAM plants, in a way so that it can be compared with
similar rates in C3 and C4 plants. Any ideas, comments, pointers to literature
etc. will be welcome.

Thanks in advance,

Sxren L. Nielsen
Department of Life Sciences and Chemistry
Roskilde University
PO Box 260, DK-4000 Roskilde, Denmark
Phone: +45 46 75 77 11, Fax: +45 46 75 77 21
e-mail: nielsen at

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