Kirschbaum, M.U.F., Küppers, M., Schneider, H., Giersch, C. and Noe, S. (1997) Modelling photosynthesis in fluctuating light with inclusion of stomatal conductance, biochemical activation and pools of key photosynthetic intermediates. Planta 204: 16-26.

Photosynthetic carbon gain in rapidly fluctuating light is controlled by stomatal conductance, activation of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase, a fast induction step in the regeneration of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate, and the build-up of pools of photosynthetic intermediates that allow post-illumination CO2 fixation. Experimental work over recent years has identified and characterised these factors. A physiologically-based dynamic model is described here that incorporates these factors and allows the simulation of carbon gain in response to any arbitrary sequence of light levels. The model output is found to conform well to previously reported plant responses of Alocasia macrorrhiza (L.) G. Don. observed under widely differing conditions. The model shows

(i) responses of net assimilation rate and stomatal conductance to constant light levels and different CO2 concentrations that are consistent with experimental observations and predictions of a steady-state model;

(ii) carbon gain to continue after the end of lightflecks, especially in uninduced leaves;

(iii) carbon gain to be only marginally reduced during low-light periods of up to 2 seconds;

(iv) a fast-inducing component in the regeneration of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate to be limiting for up to 60 seconds after an increase in light in uninduced leaves. The duration of this limitation lengthens with increasing CO2 concentration and is absent at low CO2 concentration;

(v) oxygen evolution to exceed CO2 fixation during the first few seconds of a lightfleck, but CO2 fixation to continue after the end of the lightfleck whereas oxygen evolution decreases to low-light rates immediately.

The model is thus able to reproduce published responses of leaves to a variety of perturbations. This provides good evidence that the present formulation of the model includes the essential rate-determining factors of photosynthesis under fluctuating light conditions.

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