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The Effects of Photosynthesis, Respiration, and Transpiration on the Growth

Rate, and the Quality and Quantity of Yield

A scientific paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements in Fundamentals of

Crop Science 1, 2nd semester, 2015-2016


April 7, 2016

The primary physiological processes in plants are photosynthesis, respiration

and transpiration. The growth rate of the crop, and the quality and quantity yield will be

determine by the magnitude and rates of these three processes. Quantitative traits were

determined and how these life processes affects the growth and yield of the crop. In

photosynthesis and respiration six randomly corn plant were selected and planted with

different conditions. Quantitative traits were measured: fresh weight dimensions of each

ear, plants part were kept in a room for one week then the dry weight was measured.

Results showed that respiration and respiration lead to higher product yield, and fresh

weight affects the net photosynthesis which also affects the gross photosynthesis and

respiration. In transpiration, a photometer test was conducted under the following

conditions: A. still air + low light, B. still air + strong light, C. wind fanning + low light, D.

with fanning + strong light. Set-up in condition B has the highest transpiration rate

because of the high light intensity and still wind


The primary physiological processes in plants are photosynthesis, respiration

and transpiration. Photosynthesis and transpiration occur primarily in leaves.

Photosynthesis and respiration involve a series of complex biochemical reactions while

transpiration is a physical process. The growth rate of the crop, and the quality and

quantity yield will be determine by the magnitude and rates of these three processes.

Photosynthesis is a complex reaction in which living things derive and use

energy from the sun to manufacture their own food (Penecilla, et.al., 2003). The major

chemical pathway in photosynthesis is the conversion of carbon dioxide and water to

carbohydrates and oxygen. The carbohydrates formed possess more energy than

starting materials. By the input of the suns energy, the energy-poor compounds are

converted to the energy-rich compounds. Photosynthesis can thus be regarded as a

process of converting radiant energy of the sun into chemical energy of plant tissue

(Hall and Rao, 1999).

Photosynthesis is limited to the harvesting sunlight and storing the energy in the

chemical bonds of sugar. No organism, not even a green plant, is able to use light

directly from the synthesis of macromolecules and all of the work that must be done by

its cells. That is where cellular respiration comes in. cellular respiration is a metabolic

process that retrieves the energy from the sugars and other organic molecules and

transforms it into a molecule that is immediately available to work in the cell. This

molecule, called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), is the principal currency for energy

transactions in cells (Hopskin, 2006).

In transpiration moisture is carried through plants from roots to stomata on the

underside of leaves, and then it became vapor and releases to the atmosphere.

Transpiration is the transport of water and nutrients from soil through roots and xylem. It

keeps the cell hydrated.

Transpiration is basically a process of evaporation that is controlled by the

physiological factors. However, transpiration is also a physiological process, and as

such it is affected by plant factors such as leaf structure and exposure and the response

of stomata (Kramer and Boyer, 1995)


Specifically this study aims to:

1. Discuss and relate the role of photosynthesis and photosynthetic organs to yield


2. Discuss the principles, applicability and limitations of the different methods in

estimating photosynthesis, respiration and transpiration

3. Determine the factors affecting the rate of transpiration.

Materials and Methods


Corn plants at silk or blister stage


Paper bags

Foot ruler

Marking pens

Top loading or triple beam balance


A. Photosynthesis, Respiration, and Yield

Six uniform corn plants were randomly selected on their silk or blister stage.

Treatments were done on each plant; the first half was planted under a full sunlight

condition while the other half was planted under a partial sunlight condition. The

researchers labeled each plant. It was assured that only one ear per plant emerged,

additional ears that emerged were removed right away. After 5 weeks of monitoring, the

plants were uprooted in such a way that the bulk of the roots were recovered. Soil

particles from the roots were removed and the plant samples were brought to the

laboratory room. The ears were removed from the plants. The ears were dehusk and
arranged according to treatment. First step was to determine the quantitative traits of

the ears; fresh weight and dimensions of the ear. Ear length was taken from the base

up to tip of the ear, while ear width was taken at the middle portion of the ear. Number

of kernels row and number of kernels per row were counted. Each ear was cut into

small pieces and was placed separately in properly-labelled paper bags. The samples

was placed in a room and weighed after a week. The gross photosynthesis, net

photosynthesis and respiration were determined after the plants have been weighed.

Gross photosynthesis, net photosynthesis and the amount of respiration used were

calculated using the formula: Gross Photosynthesis = Net Photosynthesis + Respiration,

whereas net photosynthesis is 67% of the gross photosynthesis, while respiration is

33% of the gross photosynthesis.

B. Determination of Transpiration

The leafy branch/shoot was mounted in the potometer as follows: the end of the

branch/shoot with a woody stem about the size of a pencil was inserted through the

hole of the rubber stopper. 2-3 inches of the stem was protruding below the stopper,

cut-off about 1 inch with a sharp knife. The stem was immersed in water.

With the pinch cock of the potometer open and a finger over the hole at the end

of the capillary tube, the potometer was filled with water through the reservoir. Closed

the pinch cock. While holding the photometer securely under the well, the branch/shoot

was quickly moved to the well and the stopper was carefully inserted. The researchers

made it certain that no bubble was trapped in the well. With the end of the capillary tube

exposed to the air, the branch transpired. After a bubble air had entered the capillary,
the capillary end was immersed into the auxillary water source. When the bubble

proceeded beyond the marked portion of the capillary tube, the bubble was drove back

by partially opening the pinch cock. The researchers determined the rate of transpiration

by determining the distance traveled by the bubble per unit time interval. It was

assumed that the rate of transpiration was directly proportional to the water uptake of

the plant.

Four treatments were done to the potometer set-up. In the first treatment the set-

up was placed under still air and with low light exposure. The second treatment was

done with still air and strong light exposure. In the third treatment, wind fanning was

done and with low light exposure. Potometer set-up was placed under a strong light

exposure and wind fanning was done in the fourth treatment.

Results and Discussions

Table 1. Characteristics of corn ears harvested from the plants grown under full sunlight

and partial sunlight

PARAMETER Full Sunlight Partial Sunlight
1 2 3 Ave. 1 2 3 Ave.
Ear length (cm) 21.5 26.5 16 21.3 9.3 5.5 7.2 7.3
Ear width (cm) 4 3.7 2 3.2 1.6 1.4 1.2 1.4
Number of kernel row 16 16 13 15 9 13 15 12.3
Number of kernels per row 18 26 25 23 28.6 33.6 35 32.4
Ear fresh weight 83.4g 95.6 20.5 66.5 28.7 20.2 18.6 22.5
Ear dry weight 30.01 42.27 11.48 27.92 16.49 16.23 15.69 16.14

Table 2. Gross photosynthesis, net photosynthesis, and respiration of corn plants

grown under full sunlight and partial sunlight

Full Sunlight Partial Sunlight
1 2 3 Ave. 1 2 3 Ave.
Fresh weight (g) 206.1 206.3 181.4 197.9 223.5 161.2 148 177.6
Net photosynthesis (g) 105.57 110.27 100.19 105.34 171.72 107.21 90.01 129.91
Gross photosynthesis (g) 157.57 164.58 149.54 157.23 256.30 160.02 134.34 183.55
Respiration 52.00 54.31 49.35 51.89 84.58 52.80 44.33 60.57

Table 1 shows the quantitative traits of the ear and the comparison of the weight

and dimensions of plants placed under a full sunlight and plants placed under partial

sunlight. Dimensions of each ear were measured and after determining the above data

the average of each row was computed. As shown in the table the computed average of
the ear length, ear width and number of kernel row of plants placed under full sunlight is

higher than the plants placed under partial sunlight, but the computed average of

number of kernels per row of the plants placed under partial sunlight is higher. Average

fresh weight and dry weight of ears under full sunlight are higher than the other half,

thus severe environmental stress during ear formation may limit the potential ear size.

Table 2 shows the comparison of gross photosynthesis, net photosynthesis and

respiration of plants, planted with different treatments. Plants under full sunlight

supposed to have a higher gross photosynthesis because photosynthesis takes place

only with the presence of light thus the higher the light intensity the higher rate of

photosynthesis but because of the fresh weight as well as the dry weight of corn 1 from

partial sunlight is very high compared to the weight of the others, it affects the average

gross photosynthesis of the partial sunlight. Therefore, plants have higher rate of

photosynthesis under partial light and yields to more product.

Respiration in table 2 shows that plants planted under partial sunlight respire

more than those plants planted under fully shade, again plants grown under fully shade

supposed to respire more. From the information above, respiration requires a glucose

molecule to be utilized, partially shaded plants produced less glucose because it lacks

electron that will provide energy for the process to take place, therefore respiration rate

of partially shaded plants is lesser than fully shaded plants, but because of the high

fresh weight of corn 1 under partial sunlight it causes a changes in the net

photosynthesis, when net photosynthesis is high respiration is also high.

Table 3 Transpiration rate of a plant under different conditions

CONDITION 1 2 3 Ave.
A. Still air + low light 0.08 ml/min 0.14 ml/min 0.17 ml/min 0.13 ml/min

B. Still air + strong light 0.6 ml/min 0.7 ml/min 0.8 ml/min 0.7 ml/min

C. Wind fanning + low light 0.06 ml/min 0 ml/min 0 ml/min 0.06 ml/min

D. Wind fanning + strong 0.07 ml/min 0.03 ml/min 0.01 ml/min 0.04 ml/min

Table 3, shows the differences of transpiration rate of each treatments and

condition. As the table shown combination of still air and strong light has the higher rate

of transpiration but in condition D strong light was applied and it has the lowest

transpiration rate. Wind is known as one of the factors affecting transpiration, but there

is still a difference between still air and wind fanning or moving air. Wind fanning does

not change the temperature of the room but it moves more air pass to the plants.

Molecules present in the wind take a little bit of heat away from the plants so the more

molecules that pass to the plants the more heat it can lose, which affects the rate of

transpiration, as the heat losses from the plant, evaporation lower resulting to slow rate

of transpiration. Another factor is the intensity of light, high light intensity means high

temperature that leads to stimulating stomata opening and increases rate of


Based on the findings the following conclusions are obtained:

1. Fresh weight of the plant affects the gross photosynthesis, result showed that

partially shaded plant photosynthesized and respire more, thus resulting to a

higher gross photosynthesis, therefore photosynthesis and respiration lead to

higher yield production of the crop.

2. Photosynthesis uses radiant energy to produce its own food, therefore faster rate

of photosynthesis yields more product, respiration contributes to converting

energy and enhancing the growth of the plant, transpiration considered as

necessary evil for the plant for it losses water from plants in the form of water


Hall, D.O., Rao, K. (1999). Photosynthesis (6th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Hopkins,W. (2006). Photosynthesis and Respiration. New York, NY: Infobase


Pallardy, S. ( July, 2010). Physiology of Woody Plants. Academic Press.

Moore R, Clark,W.D., Vopopich, D.S., (2003). Botany (2nd ed). New York, NY:

McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. P. 496-520.

Penecilla, G.L., Valmonte, L.D., et.al., (2003). Basic Concepts in Biology. Philippines:
Trinitas Publishing.


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