How does photosynthesis occur in desert plants??

Asked by Jaydip | 2nd Jun, 2017, 06:59: PM

Expert Answer:

Desert plants which grow in semi-arid conditions fix atmospheric CO2 to form malic acid in the dark. These plants accumulate organic acid during the night to be used during the daytime. This pathway of carbon fixation is called Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM).

The stem, leaves and petioles of CAM plants are fleshy or succulent. They have reduced leaves, thick cuticle and sunken stomata. Their stomata remain closed during the day and open at night. This helps the plants to conserve water, but at the same time, cuts off CO2 supply which is required for photosynthesis.

  • In desert plants, the stomata are open at night and usually closed during the day.
  • They take in CO2 at night and store it in the form of an intermediate product called malic acid.
  • During daytime, in the presence of light, deacidification takes place in which malic acid is decarboxylated to pyruvic acid by the malic enzyme and CO2 is evolved. One molecule of NADP+ is reduced in this reaction.
  • Pyruvic acid so formed may be oxidised to CO2 by the Krebs cycle or reconverted to phosphoenol pyruvic acid.
  • CO2 released by deacidification is accepted by ribulose bisphosphate and fixed in the form of carbohydrate by the C3 or Calvin cycle.

Answered by Sheetal Kolte | 3rd Jun, 2017, 12:27: PM