Take the 2-minute tour ×
Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In shade-loving plants, the light compensation point is reached at low irradiance because:

A. Leaves have more chlorophyll per reaction center

B. These plants have greatly reduced respiration rates

C. Shade-loving plants synthesize anthocyanins

I am mainly confused between A and C. I am sure that A is factually correct but I don't know whether it is correct in this context.

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

I think the answer is $A$. As for $C$, Anthocyanins are located in the vacuole and their light absorption does not affect the process of photosynthesis which occurs in the chloroplast. Anthocyanins do participate in prevention of High-Light Stress (or Photoinhibition) but they have no role to play in gathering light energy for photosynthesis. Therefore, to improve the quantum efficiency (quanta of light per $\ce{CO2}$ molecule fixed or $\ce{O2}$ evolved, or any other quantifiable photochemical event) of the light reaction, anthocyanins play no role.

But, if there are more chlorophyll molecules per reaction centre, i.e. there is a greater number of chlorophylls in the LHC (Light Harvesting Complex), or the Antennae system, then the quantum efficiency can be improved, the absorption band widened and thus the light compensation point is reached earlier. The extra molecules of chlorophyll absorb energy at their specific wavelengths of light and transmit this energy to the main reaction centre by FRET(Fluorescence resonance energy transfer). Therefore, greater the number of chlorophylls per reaction centre, greater is the light energy absorbed and transmitted to the reaction centre and hence, better is the quantum efficiency.
More technically, having more chlorophylls open up more pathways for photochemical energy quenching, and thus improves the efficiency by minimizing fluorescent losses.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.