The light response of the photosynthetic CO 2 uptake rate by a suspension of microalgae or a leaf per unit area ( A ) is well described by a nonrectangular hyperbola: where Φ CO2 is the maximal quantum efficiency of photosynthetic CO 2 fixation, θ is the convexity of the hyperbola, A sat is the light-saturated rate of photosynthetic CO 2 uptake rate, I is the photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD), and R is the rate CO 2 efflux from mitochondrial respiration. As Figure 1 depicts for a tobacco ( Nicotiana tabacum ) leaf, initially A increases nearly linearly with I and after an inflection A approaches a plateau. The initial slope of A versus PPFD represents the quantum yield of CO 2 uptake, i.e. the fractional number of CO 2 molecules that can be fixed with absorption of one photon. The attenuation of PPFD with depth in a uniform suspension of microalgae can be inferred to a first approximation from the Beer-Lambert law: where a is the absorbance of light from the surface to the particular depth; e is the molar absorbtivity of algal pigments with units of L mol −1 cm −1 ; b is the
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