Fitting photosynthetic carbon dioxide response curves for C3 leaves

Thomas D. Sharkey, Carl J. Bernacchi, Graham D. Farquhar, Eric L. Singsaas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Photosynthetic responses to carbon dioxide concentration can provide data on a number of important parameters related to leaf physiology. Methods for fitting a model to such data are briefly described. The method will fit the following parameters: Vcmax, J, TPU, Rd and gm [maximum carboxylation rate allowed by ribulose 1.5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco), rate of photosynthetic electron transport (based on NADPH requirement), triose phosphate use, day respiration and mesophyll conductance, respectively]. The method requires at least five data pairs of net CO2 assimilation (A) and [CO2] in the intercellular airspaces of the leaf (Ci) and requires users to indicate the presumed limiting factor. The output is (1) calculated CO 2 partial pressure at the sites of carboxylation, Cc, (2) values for the five parameters at the measurement temperature and (3) values adjusted to 25°C to facilitate comparisons. Fitting this model is a way of exploring leaf level photosynthesis. However, interpreting leaf level photosynthesis in terms of underlying biochemistry and biophysics is subject to assumptions that hold to a greater or lesser degree, a major assumption being that all parts of the leaf are behaving in the same way at each instant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1035-1040
Number of pages6
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • A/C curves
  • Mesophyll conductance
  • Photosynthesis model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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