Limiting Factors in Photosynthesis

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When several factors influence the rate of reaction, the factor that is least favourable will determine the rate at which a reaction can proceed. This is the law of limiting factors - the factor that is most unfavourable is the limiting factor. 

Limiting Factors in Photosynthesis

  • Light intensity
  • Concentration of carbon dioxide outside the plant 
  • Temperature (this affects the activity of enzymes catalysing the light - independent reactions and also the rate of diffusion of carbon dioxide) 
  • Degree to which stomata are open or closed
  • Water supply (influences stomatal aperture)
  • Structure of the leaf
  • Availability of chlorophyll, carrier molecules and enzymes. 

When the light intensity is varied and all other factors remain constant, the rate of photosynthesis increases linearly with increased light intensity over a range of low intensities. The light intensity is the limiting factor. At high light intensities, increasing the intensity has little or no effect. A factor other than light intensity is limiting the rate of reaction: perhaps the available carbon dioxide. 

As with increasing the light intensity, increasing the


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