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Paper of the Month August 2015

Three-dimensional microscale modelling of CO2 transport and light propagation in tomato leaves enlightens photosynthesis

Abstract

We present a combined three-dimensional (3-D) model of light propagation, CO2 diffusion and photosynthesis in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) leaves. The model incorporates a geometrical representation of the actual leaf microstructure that we obtained with synchrotron radiation X-ray laminography, and was evaluated using measurements of gas exchange and leaf optical properties. The combination of the 3-D microstructure of leaf tissue and chloroplast movement induced by changes in light intensity affects the simulated
CO2 transport within the leaf. The model predicts extensive reassimilation of CO2 produced by respiration and photorespiration. Simulations also suggest that carbonic anhydrase could enhance photosynthesis at low CO2 levels but had little impact on photosynthesis at high CO2 levels. The model confirms that scaling of photosynthetic capacity with absorbed light would improve efficiency of CO2 fixation
in the leaf, especially at low light intensity.

Quang Tri Ho, Herman N. C. Berghuijs, Rodrigo Watté, Pieter Verboven, Els Herremans, Xinyou Yin, Moges A. Retta, Ben Aernouts,Wouter Saeys, Lukas Helfen, Graham D. Farquhar, Paul C. Struik & Bart M. Nicolaï (2015) Plant, Cell & Environment (online first 28 July 2015)

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