The Effect of PH on the Rate of Photosynthesis

••• Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of ???

Photosynthesis, the process by which plants create their food, can be affected by changes in pH within the leaves. PH is the measure of the acidity of a solution, and it can have a large effect on many biological processes.

The PH Scale

The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Measurements below 7 indicate acidity, and measurements above 7 indicate that a solution is alkaline, or basic.

PH and Biological Processes

Changes in pH affect all biological processes, primarily through its influence on enzymes. Enzymes are important \"workers\" inside cells that are disabled by extremes in pH.

The Optimum PH for Photosynthetic Enzymes

RuBisCO is the key carbon-fixing enzyme in the process of photosynthesis, and it functions optimally at a pH of 8.

The Effect of Raising or Lowering the PH

Raising or lowering the pH from 8 will negatively influence the rate of photosynthesis because RuBisCO will begin to work more slowly. When the pH reaches 6 on the low side and 10 on the high side, RuBisCO will cease working altogether.

Other Considerations

Besides RuBisCO, there are many enzymes and proteins involved in the photosynthetic process; all of them are negatively affected by the raising or lowering of pH from the optimal level.

References

About the Author

Timothy Banas has a master's degree in biophysics and was a high school science teacher in Chicago for seven years. He has since been working as a trading systems analyst, standardized test item developer, and freelance writer. As a freelancer, he has written articles on everything from personal finances to computer technology.

Photo Credits

  • Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of ???