Photosynthesis/carbon assimilation in CAM plants

S›ren Laurentius Nielsen nielsen at RUC.DK
Mon Nov 20 08:28:05 EST 1995

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,

Søren 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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