Determining the limitations and regulation of photosynthetic energy transduction in leaves


N. R. Baker. Fax: +44 1206 872592; e-mail:


The light-dependent production of ATP and reductants by the photosynthetic apparatus in vivo involves a series of electron and proton transfers. Consideration is given as to how electron fluxes through photosystem I (PSI), using absorption spectroscopy, and through photosystem II (PSII), using chlorophyll fluorescence analyses, can be estimated in vivo. Measurements of light-induced electrochromic shifts using absorption spectroscopy provide a means of analyzing the proton fluxes across the thylakoid membranes in vivo. Regulation of these electron and proton fluxes is required for the thylakoids to meet the fluctuating metabolic demands of the cell. Chloroplasts exhibit a wide and flexible range of mechanisms to regulate electron and proton fluxes that enable chloroplasts to match light use for ATP and reductant production with the prevailing metabolic requirements. Non-invasive probing of electron fluxes through PSI and PSII, and proton fluxes across the thylakoid membranes can provide insights into the operation of such regulatory processes in vivo.