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Photorespiration

  • Photorespiration (also known as the oxidative photosynthetic carbon cycle or C2 photosynthesis) refers to a process in plant metabolism where the enzyme RuBisCO oxygenates RuBP, wasting some of the energy produced by photosynthesis.
  • The desired reaction is the addition of carbon dioxide to RuBP (carboxylation), a key step in the Calvin–Benson cycle, however approximately 25% of reactions by RuBisCO instead add oxygen to RuBP (oxygenation), creating a product that cannot be used within the Calvin–Benson cycle.
  • This process reduces the efficiency of photosynthesis, potentially reducing photosynthetic output by 25% in C3 plants.
  • Photorespiration involves a complex network of enzyme reactions that exchange metabolites between chloroplasts, leaf peroxisomes and mitochondria.
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