Why does increase in concentration of CO2 in a plant cell increase the acidity of the cell sap?

Thank you

  • $\begingroup$ CO2 dissolves and forms a weak acid; carbonic acid (H2CO3 <-> H+ + HCO3- <-> H+ + CO32-) $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Feb 10, 2016 at 20:02

1 Answer 1


CO2 is a Lewis Acid. CO2 is a double carbonyl carbon which is electron deficient, and we know that Lewis Acids readily accept electrons, so when present in H20 it forms carbonic acid (H2CO3). Christiaan posted the balanced equation of the formation of the acid.

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    $\begingroup$ Just a comment to say the OP is talking about a plant cell; the human body's acid-base coping mechanisms don't particularly apply. $\endgroup$ Feb 11, 2016 at 5:14
  • $\begingroup$ I'd say there are other just as important factors also. $\endgroup$
    – Technetium
    Feb 12, 2016 at 2:52
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    $\begingroup$ @anongoodnurse thank you for pointing that out, I edited my response. Whether in blood or xylem, CO2 will form carbonic acid in solution with water. $\endgroup$
    – MG_MD
    Feb 12, 2016 at 3:47

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