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Plant Physiol. 1993 Feb;101(2):507-512.

Temperature Dependence of the Linkage of Quantum Yield of Photosystem II to CO2 Fixation in C4 and C3 Plants.

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  • 1Department of Botany, Washington State University, Pullman Washington 99164-4238.


The temperature dependence of quantum yields of electron transport from photosystem II (PSII) ([phi]II, determined from chlorophyll a fluorescence) and CO2 assimilation ([phi]CO2, apparent quantum yield for CO2 assimilation) were determined simultaneously in vivo. With C4 species representing NADP-malic enzyme, NAD-malic enzyme, and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase subgroups, the ratio of [phi]II/[phi]CO2 was constant over the temperature range from 15 to 40[deg]C at high light intensity (1100 [mu]mol quanta m-2 s-1). A similar response was obtained at low light intensity (300 [mu]mol quanta m-2 s-1), except the ratio of [phi]II/[phi]CO2 increased at high temperature. When the true quantum yield for CO2 fixation ([phi]CO2*) was calculated by correcting for respiration in the light (estimated from temperature dependence of dark respiration), the ratio of [phi]II/[phi]C02* remained constant with varying temperature and under both light intensities in all C4 species examined. Because the [phi]II/[phi]CO2* ratio was the same in C4 monocots representing the three subgroups, the ratio was not affected by differences in the bio-chemical mechanism of concentrating CO2 in the bundle sheath cells. The results suggest that PSII activity is closely linked to the true rate of CO2 fixation in C4 plants. The close relationship between [phi]II and [phi]CO2* in C4 species under varying temperature and light intensity conditions is apparently due to a common low level of photorespiration and a primary requirement for reductive power in the C3 pathway. In contrast, in a C3 plant the [phi] II/[phi]CO2* ratio is higher under normal atmospheric conditions than under nonphotorespiratory conditions and it increases with rising temperature. This decrease in efficiency in utilizing energy derived from PSII for CO2 fixation is due to an increase in photorespiration. In both the C3 and C4 species, photochemistry is limited under low temperature, and thus excess energy must be dissipated by nonphotochemical means.

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