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C4 Photosynthesis

AP Biology Unit 4

Review: C3 Photosynthesis
During regular photosynthesis, CO2 is trapped into a 3-carbon compound by Rubisco C3 Photosynthesis This 3 carbon compound then goes through the calvin cycle to produce glucose (eventually)

C4 Photosynthesis
Certain plants go through a slightly modified photosynthesis process (C4 Photosynthesis) C4 Photosynthesis is an adaptation that evolved due to the environment these plants are in.

Rubisco
ALL plants have it and use it for the Calvin Cycle. Rubisco usually reacts with CO2, but it can also react with O2 2 competing reactions.

Competing Reactions
Rubisco can react with CO2 (Carboxylase Reaction) good for glucose output
CH2OPO32C O H C OH H C OH CH2OPO32Ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate

CO2

O C

O-

O C

O-

H C OH CH2OPO323-Phosphoglycerate

H C OH CH2OPO 323-Phosphoglycerate

Competing Reactions
Rubisco can also react with O2 (Oxygenase Reaction)
not good for glucose output Even though CO2 is eventually regenerated, it wastes time and energy (occupies Rubisco)
CH2OPO32C O H C OH H C OH CH2OPO32Ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate

O2

O C

O-

CH2OPO32C O O-

H C OH CH2OPO323-Phosphoglycerate

Phosphoglycolate

Photorespiration
When Rubisco reacts with O2 instead of CO2 Occurs under the following conditions:
High O2 concentrations High heat

Photorespiration is estimated to reduce photosynthetic efficiency by 25%

Why high heat?


When it is hot, plants close their stomata to conserve water They continue to do photosynthesis use up CO2 and produce O2 creates high O2 concentrations inside the plant photorespiration occurs

C4 Photosynthesis
Certain plants have developed ways to limit the amount of photorespiration
C4 Pathway* CAM Pathway* * Both convert CO2 into a 4 carbon intermediate C4 Photosynthesis

Leaf Anatomy
In C3 plants (those that do C3 photosynthesis), all photosynthesis processes occur in the mesophyll cells.
Mesophyll cells

Bundle sheath cells (no photosynthesis

Image taken without permission from http://bcs.whfreeman.com/thelifewire|

C4 Pathway
In C4 pathway plants photosynthesis occurs in both the mesophyll and the bundle sheath cells.
Light reactions in mesophyll Calvin Cycle in Bundle sheath

Image taken without permission from http://bcs.whfreeman.com/thelifewire|

C4 Pathway
CO2 is fixed into a 4carbon intermediate first Has an extra enzyme PEP Carboxylase that initially traps CO2 instead of Rubisco makes a 4 carbon intermediate

C4 Pathway
The 4 carbon intermediate smuggles CO2 into the bundle sheath cell The bundle sheath cell is not very permeable to CO2 CO2 is released from the 4C molecule goes through the Calvin Cycle

C3 Pathway

How does the C4 Pathway limit photorespiration?


Bundle sheath cells are far from the surface less O2 access PEP Carboxylase doesnt have an affinity for O2 allows plant to collect a lot of CO2 and concentrate it in the bundle sheath cells (where Rubisco is)

CAM Pathway
Fix CO2 at night and store as a 4 carbon molecule Keep stomates closed during day to prevent water loss Same general process as C4 Pathway Has the same leaf anatomy as C3 plants

How does the CAM Pathway limit photorespiration?


Collects CO2 at night so that it can be more concentrated during the day Plant can still do the calvin cycle during the day without losing water

Summary of C4 Photosynthesis
C4 Pathway
Separates by space (different locations)

CAM Pathway
Separates reactions by time (night versus day)

Light intensity is directly related to temperature C4 Plants (CAM and C4 Pathway) are able to do more photosynthesis at high temperatures

2/dm2/hr) Net Photosynthesis (mg CO

Comparison

2 /min) Light Intensity (cal/cm