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[Photosynthesis] CAM

David Alan Walker d.a.walker at sheffield.ac.uk
Sun Jul 9 03:51:47 EST 2006

An old  (first published 1983) but, dare I say still useful, tome  called
ŒC3C4¹  is available in digital (PDF) format  ror free download (Open
Access, courtesy of Gerry Edwards) from


Chapter 15 contains much of what was then known about CAM including a list
of families. This PDF version also contains an explanation reproduced below,
which may be of  wider interest.
About the Frontispiece
"You might just as well say," added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking
in his sleep, "that 'I breathe when I sleep' is the same thing as 'I sleep
when I
The dust-cover of the first edition of ŒC3C4¹was illustrated with a picture
two Atriplex leaves., Edwards and Walker had killed the (pre-illuminated)
leaves, extracted their chlorophyll, and stained with iodine for starch. One
(Atriplex rosea) was C4 the other (Atriplex hastate) was C3. Sadly, the
publisher (Blackwell¹s) forgot to include their explanation of the meaning
the illustration. Now, 25 year¹s later, we have an opportunity to make good
this omission but, ironically, all is not quite as clear as it was then. The
starch distribution in the C4 Atriplex was, and is, characteristic of
anatomy. At the time, there were good grounds for supposing that
ŒKranz-type¹ anatomy was structurally synonymous with ŒC4
photosynthesis¹. But the world has taken a few turns since then and
as always, continues. The title of a (much more recent), seminal, letter
to Nature* reads
³Kranz anatomy is not essential for terrestrial C4 plant photosynthesis²
*By Elena V. Voznesenskaya Vincent R. Franceschi—, Olavi Kiirats
Helmut Freitag¯ & Gerald E. Edwards
NATURE 414, 29 543-546

>From David Walker, FRS., Emeritus Professor of Photosynthesis, University of
Sheffield, UK.

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