Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology

On the Relationship Between Carbon Isotope Discrimination and the Intercellular Carbon Dioxide Concentration in Leaves

GD Farquhar, MH O'Leary and JA Berry

Australian Journal of Plant Physiology 9(2) 121 - 137
Published: 1982


Theory is developed to explain the carbon isotopic composition of plants. It is shown how diffusion of gaseous CO2 can significantly affect carbon isotopic discrimination. The effects on discrimination by diffusion and carboxylation are integrated, yielding a simple relationship between discrimination and the ratio of the intercellular and atmospheric partial pressures of CO2. The effects of dark respiration and photorespiration are also considered, and it is suggested that they have relatively little effect on discrimination other than via their effects on intercellular p(CO2). It is also suggested that various environmental factors such as light, temperature, salinity and drought will also have effects via changes in intercellular p(CO2). A simple method is suggested for assessing water use efficiencies in the field.

© CSIRO 1982

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