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Oxygen Uptake and Photosynthesis of the Red Macroalga, Chondrus crispus, in Seawater: Effects of Light and CO2 Concentration

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Abstract

With an experimental system using mass spectrometry techniques and infra-red gas analysis of CO2 developed for aquatic plants, we studied the responses to various light intensities and CO2 concentrations of photosynthesis and O2 uptake of the red macroalga Chondrus crispus S. The CO2 exchange resistance at air-water interface which could limit the photosynthesis was experimentally measured. It allowed the calculation of the free dissolved CO2 concentration. The response to light showed a small O2 uptake (37% of net photosynthesis in standard conditions) compared to C3 plants; it was always higher than dark respiration and probably included a photoindependent part. The response to CO2 showed: (a) an O2 uptake relatively insensitive to CO2 concentration and not completely inhibited with high CO2, (b) a general inhibition of gas exchanges below 130 microliters CO2 per liter (gas phase), (c) an absence of an inverse relationship between O2 and CO2 uptakes, and (d) a low apparent Km of photosynthesis for free CO2 (1 micromolar). These results suggest that O2 uptake in the light is the sum of different oxidation processes such as the glycolate pathway, the Mehler reaction, and mitochondrial respiration. The high affinity for CO2 is discussed in relation to the use of HCO3− and/or the internal CO2 accumulation.

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