Elevated CO2 increases photosynthesis in fluctuating irradiance regardless of photosynthetic induction state

Elias Kaiser*, Dianfan Zhou, Ep Heuvelink, Jeremy Harbinson, A. Morales Sierra, Leo F.M. Marcelis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Leaves are often exposed to fluctuating irradiance, which limits assimilation. Elevated CO2 enhances dynamic photosynthesis (i.e. photosynthesis in fluctuating irradiance) beyond its effects on steady-state photosynthesis rates. Studying the role of CO2 in dynamic photosynthesis is important for understanding plant responses to changing atmospheric CO2 partial pressures. The rise of photosynthesis after a step-wise increase to 1000 μmol m–2 s–1, the loss of photosynthetic induction after irradiance decreases, and rates of photosynthesis during sinusoidal changes in irradiance were studied in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) leaves, using three CO2 partial pressures (200, 400, and 800 µbar). Initial irradiance was set to 0, 50, 100, and 200 μmol m–2 s–1 to vary the initial induction state. Most responses at 200 µbar were not different from those at 400 µbar. In contrast, CO2 at 800 µbar increased the relative carbon gain by 12% after an increase in irradiance, decreased the loss of photosynthetic induction by 14%, and increased dynamic photosynthesis during sine waves by 17%, compared with 400 µbar. These effects were additional to steady-state effects of elevated CO2 on photosynthesis. The enhancement of dynamic photosynthesis rates by elevated CO2 may therefore additionally increase photosynthesis in a future, CO2-enriched climate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5629-5640
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017


  • ?uctuating light
  • Carbon dioxide
  • climate change
  • dynamic photosynthesis
  • photosynthetic induction
  • sine wave
  • tomato


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