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Limiting factors in photosynthesis

Limiting
factor is
something
present
in
the
environment
in
such short supply that it restricts life processes. Three factors can limit the
speed of photosynthesis - light intensity, carbon dioxide concentration
and temperature.
Light:
The brighter light split faster the water molecules in the chloroplast. A rise in
temperature will increase the rate carbon dioxide uptake, to combine with
water to make carbohydrate. In dark plants respire and photosynthesis is
impossible.
If the light intensity is slowly increased, the rate of photosynthesis increases
up to a point at which can go no further. This is called the light saturation. (if
plant given more carbon dioxide photosynthesis increases again.

Experiment
1. Place a pond weed of elodea upside in a test tube containing water.
2. Place the tube in a beaker of fresh water at 25C . (this helps to maintain
a constant temperature around the pond weed)
3. Place sodium bicarbonate in the water to give constant saturated solution
of carbon dioxide.
4. Place the lamp (light source at distance from the plant
5. Count the number of oxygen bubbles given by the plant for 1 minute.
1

Repeat at different light intensity by moving the lamp different distances

If light intensity is slowly increased, the rate of photosynthesis increases up


to a point at which it can go no further. This is called the light saturation
point.

Carbon dioxide
Alternatively if a plant is placed in a light of fixed intensity and its carbon di
oxide supply increased the rate of photosynthesis increases up to the carbon
dioxide saturation point.
If both carbon dioxide and light supply are increased together, the rate of
photosynthesis increases to a certain point and then levels out.
At this point its rate is limited by neither carbon dioxide supply nor light. It is
limited by the capacity of leaves to absorb carbon dioxide. It is impossible for
carbon dioxide to diffuse any faster into the leaves.

Temperature
This affects the rate of the light-independent reaction. The energy that
drives this process is heat energy.
AT low temperature the rate of photosynthesis is slow but the light saturation
point is reached quickly. At a high temperature the rate of photosynthesis
increases further reaching the light saturation point more slowly.
Many enzymes are involved during the process of photosynthesis. At low
temperatures these enzymes work slower. Enzymes work faster at the
optimum temperature and the rate of photosynthesis is high. At high
temperatures the enzymes no longer work effectively. This affects the rate of
the photosynthesis