The number and dimensions of stomata versus the rate of assimilation of CO2.



Stomatal conductance correlates with photosynthetic capacity.

by Wong S. C., Cowan I. R., Farquhar G. D. (1979)

Department of Environmental Biology, Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University PO Box 475, Canberra City, A.C.T. 2601, Australia

in Nature 282, 424–426. – doi: 10.1038/282424a0 –

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Previous studies on the physiology of stomata in higher plants suggest that stomata influence the rate of CO2 fixation in leaf mesophyll tissue. We believe that an equally important stomatal function has not been fully recognised; that stomatal aperture is determined by the capacity of the mesophyll tissue to fix carbon.

We altered the capacity of leaves to fix carbon by various means, and found invariably that the diffusive conductance of the epidermis to CO2 transfer, g, (which mainly depends on the number and dimensions of the stomata) changes in nearly the same proportion as the rate of assimilation of CO2.

Thus, the intercellular concentration of CO2 (ci), calculated as ci = ca–A/g (where ca is ambient concentration of CO2A is assimilation rate of CO2), tends to remain constant providing ca is kept constant.

We used routine techniques1 to measure A and estimate g in leaves placed singly in chambers. Conductance takes account of CO2 transfer through both stomata and leaf boundary layer, the conductance of the latter being 0.5 mol m−2 s−1.


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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