Modeling the relationship between CO2 assimilation and leaf anatomical properties in tomato leaves

H.N.C. Berghuijs*, X. Yin, Q.T. Ho, P.E.L. van der Putten, P. Verboven, M.A. Retta, B.M. Nicolai, P.C. Struik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The CO2 concentration near Rubisco and, therefore, the rate of CO2 assimilation, is influenced by both leaf anatomical factors and biochemical processes. Leaf anatomical structures act as physical barriers for CO2 transport. Biochemical processes add or remove CO2 along its diffusion pathway through mesophyll. We combined a model that quantifies the diffusive resistance for CO2 using anatomical properties, a model that partitions this resistance and an extended version of the Farquhar–von Caemmerer–Berry model. We parametrized the model by gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence and leaf anatomical measurements from three tomato cultivars. There was generally a good agreement between the predicted and measured light and CO2 response curves. We did a sensitivity analysis to assess how the rate of CO2 assimilation responds to changes in various leaf anatomical properties. Next, we conducted a similar analysis for assumed diffusive properties and curvature factors. Some variables (diffusion pathway length in stroma, diffusion coefficient of the stroma, curvature factors) substantially affected the predicted CO2 assimilation. We recommend more research on the measurements of these variables and on the development of 2-D and 3-D gas diffusion models, since these do not require the diffusion pathway length in the stroma as predefined parameter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-311
JournalPlant Science
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • mesophyll diffusion conductance
  • gas-exchange
  • chlorophyll fluorescence
  • carbonic-anhydrase
  • internal conductance
  • 3-dimensional model
  • transgenic tobacco
  • c-3 plants
  • photosynthesis
  • parameters


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