Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2017, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (8): 914-924.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2016.0337

• Reviews • Previous Articles    

Mesophyll conductance and its limiting factors in plant leaves

Ji-Mei HAN1, Wang-Feng ZHANG1, Dong-Liang XIONG2, Jaume FLEXAS2, Ya-Li ZHANG1,*()   

  1. 1Shihezi University, Agricultural College, The Key Laboratory of Oasis Eco-agriculture, Xinjiang Production and Construction Group, Shihezi, Xinjiang 832003, China

    2Universitat de les Illes Balears, Research Group in Plant Biology Under Mediterranean Conditions, Palma de Mallorca 07122, Illes Balears, Spain
  • Online:2017-08-10 Published:2017-09-29
  • Contact: Ya-Li ZHANG
  • About author:

    KANG Jing-yao(1991-), E-mail:


Mesophyll conductance (gm) represents the CO2 diffusion facility from sub-stomatal internal cavities to carboxylation sites in chloroplasts, and the variation of gm across genotypes as well as environmental conditions is expected to be related to the anatomical structures and biochemical properties of leaves. In recent years, the variation of gm has attracted wide attention. The limiting factors in photosynthetic rate are no longer divided simply into stomatal limitation and non-stomatal limitation, but splitted in stomatal limitation, mesophyll limitation and carboxylation limitation. In this review, we summarize the potential influences of cell wall, cell membrane, cytoplasm, chloroplast envelope and stroma on gm, and indicate that cell wall thickness and the surface area of chloroplast exposed to intercellular air space (Sc) are the most important factors influencing the gm. We also analyze the probable effects of biochemical process related with aquaporins and carbonic anhydrase on gm. Meanwhile, the regulation mechanisms of long- and short-term environment changes (including temperature, light intensity, drought, and nutrients) on gm are also summarized. The relationship between gm and hydraulic conductance (Kleaf) is debated. Finally, we discuss the scientific problems related with gm.

Key words: photosynthesis, CO2 diffusion, mesophyll conductance, anatomical structure, biochemical factor, environmental change, hydraulic conductance