13.10.1 Light

We need to distinguish between light quality, light intensity and the duration of exposure to light, while discussing light as a factor that affects photosynthesis.

There is a linear relationship between incident light and CO2 fixation rates at low light intensities. At higher light intensities, gradually the rate does not show further increase as other factors become limiting.

What is interesting to note is that light saturation occurs at 10 per cent of the full sunlight. Hence, except for plants in shade or in dense forests, light is rarely a limiting factor in nature. Increase inincident light beyond a point causes the breakdown of chlorophyll and a decrease in photosynthesis.

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