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Photosynthetic Pathways: C3, C4, CAM Insights



  Dec 09, 2023

Photosynthetic pathways



Photosynthetic pathways are essential mechanisms in plants for converting sunlight into chemical energy. There are three main types of photosynthetic pathways:

1. C3 Pathway:

Mechanism: This is the most common pathway, involving the fixation of CO2 into a 3-carbon compound (3-phosphoglycerate) via the enzyme Rubisco.

Occurrence: Found in most plants, particularly in cooler, wetter climates.

Efficiency: Less efficient in hot, dry conditions due to higher rates of photorespiration.

2. C4 Pathway:

Mechanism: CO2 is initially fixed into a 4-carbon compound, which is then transported to specialized cells where the Calvin cycle occurs.

Occurrence: Common in plants in hot, sunny environments, like maize, sugarcane, and sorghum.

Efficiency: More efficient in high light and temperature conditions, with lower rates of photorespiration.

3. CAM Pathway (Crassulacean Acid Metabolism):

Mechanism: CO2 is fixed at night into organic acids and stored; during the day, these acids release CO2 for the Calvin cycle.

Occurrence: Found in many succulents and arid region plants like cacti.

Efficiency: Highly efficient in dry environments, minimizes water loss by opening stomata at night.

Each pathway represents a different adaptation to environmental conditions, particularly concerning temperature and water availability.

SRIRAM’s: Understanding these pathways is crucial for appreciating plant adaptation and efficiency in various ecosystems.


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