• respiration;
  • higher plant;
  • carbon dioxide

Abstract Approximately half of the carbon plants fix in photosynthesis is lost in dark respiration. The major pathways for dark respiration and their control are briefly discussed in the context of a growing plant. It is suggested that whole-plant respiration may be largely ADP-limited and that fine control of the respiratory network serves to select the respiratory substrate and to partition carbon between the numerous possible fates within the network. The striking stoichiometry between whole-plant growth and respiration is reviewed, and the relationships between substrate-limited growth and ADP-limited respiration are discussed.