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

Q.T. Ho, H.N.C. Berghuijs, R. Watté, P. Verboven, E. Herremans, X. Yin, M.A. Retta, B. Aernouts, W. Saeys, L. Helfen, G.D. Farquhar, P.C. Struik, B. Nicolai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


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 con¿rms that scaling of photosynthetic capacity with absorbed light would improve ef¿ciency of CO2 ¿xation in the leaf, especially at low light intensity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-61
JournalPlant, Cell & Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • 3-D model photon transport
  • Gas diffusion
  • Photosynthetic capacity
  • Synchrotron radiation
  • Tomato (Solanum lycopersicumL.)
  • X-ray computed laminography


Dive into the research topics of 'Three-dimensional microscale modelling of CO2 transport and light propagation in tomato leaves enlightens photosynthesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this