C4 Plants and CAM Plants

  • Hans Mohr
  • Peter Schopfer


The photosynthetic efficiency of a plant can be defined by the amount of organic matter accumulated under optimal environmental conditions per unit area and time. Ecological conditions of the habitat, to which the plant is adapted, play an important role. This applies particularly to light (see Fig. 14.6). Sun plants, able to utilise the highest natural light fluxes, generally have a particularly high photosynthetic efficiency. However, locations with high light fluxes often experience high temperatures, which stimulate photorespiration (see p. 236), and large water deficits, necessitating a high diffusion resistance for gases at the stomata in order to reduce water loss (see p. 237). The latter is also important in salt-rich locations, where the high osmotic potential (low water potential) of the solution in the soil induces water stress. In general, both conditions prevent optimal utilisation of light by photosynthesis.


Sugar Cane Mesophyll Cell Malic Enzyme Crassulacean Acid Metabolism Calvin Cycle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Further Reading

  1. Bishop DG, Reed ML (1976) The C4 pathway of photosynthesis: Ein Kranz-Typ Wirtschaftswunder? In: Smith KC (ed) Photochemical and photobiological reviews, vol 1. Plenum Press, New York London, pp 1–69Google Scholar
  2. Edwards G, Walker D (1983) C3,C4: mechanisms, and cellular and environmental regulation of photosynthesis. Blackwell, Oxford LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. Ehleringer JR, Sage RF, Flanagan LB, Pearcy RW (1991) Climate change and the evolution of C4 photosynthesis. Trends Ecol Evol 6:95–99PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Farquhar GD, Ehleringer JR, Hubick KT (1989) Carbon isotope discrimination and photosynthesis. Annu Rev Plant Physiol Plant Mol Biol 40:503–537CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Furbank RT, Foyer CH (1988) C4 plants as valuable model experimental Systems for the study of photosynthesis. New Phytol 109:265–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hatch MD (1987) C4 photosynthesis: a unique blend of modified biochemistry, anatomy and ultrastructure. Biochim Biophys Acta 895:81–106Google Scholar
  7. Hatch MD, Boardman NK (eds) (1981 and 1987) Photosynthesis. In: Stumpf PK, Conn EE (eds) The biochemistry of plants. A comprehensive treatise, vols 8 and 10. Academic Press, New York London TorontoGoogle Scholar
  8. Hatch MD, Osmond CB (1976) Compartmentation and transport in C4 photosynthesis. In: Stocking CR, Heber U (eds) Encyclopediatia of plant physiology NS, vol 3. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 144–184Google Scholar
  9. Hatch MD (1992) C4 photosynthesis: an unlikely process full of surprises. Plant Cell Physiol 33:333–342Google Scholar
  10. Kluge M, Ting IP (1978) Crassulacean acid metabolism. Analysis of an ecological adaptation. In: Ecological studies, vol 30. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. Lüttge U, Smith JAC (1988) CAM plants. In: Baker DA, Hall JL (eds) Solute transport in plant cells and tissues. Longman, Harlow, pp 417–452Google Scholar
  12. Nobel PS (1991) Achievable productivities of certain CAM plants: basis for high values compared with C3 and C4 plants. New Phytol 119:183–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. O’Leary MH (1988) Carbon isotopes in photosynthesis. BioScience 38:328–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Osmond CB (1978) Crassulacean acid metabolism: a curiosity in context. Annu Rev Plant Physiol 29:379–414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Pearcy RW, Ehleringer J (1984) Comparative ecophysiology of C3 and C4 plants. Plant Cell Environ 7:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Rawsthorne S (1992) C3-C4 intermediate photosynthesis: linking physiology to gene expression. Plant J 2:267–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Mohr
    • 1
  • Peter Schopfer
    • 1
  1. 1.Lehrstuhl für BotanikBiologisches Institut II der UniversitätFreiburgGermany

Personalised recommendations