# How does surface area to volume ratio relate to photosynthesis?

Jun 20, 2015

Surface area to volume ratio (SA:V) is important to photosynthesis because plants must balance their need for more surface area to collect sunlight with the fragile nature of the leaves and the rate of water loss.

#### Explanation:

The equation for photosynthesis is

${\text{6CO"_2 + "6H"_2"O" → "C"_6"H"_12"O"_6 + 6"O}}_{2}$

A greater SA:V means more area for collection of sunlight and ${\text{CO}}_{2}$ and less distance for ${\text{CO}}_{2}$ to diffuse into the leaf and for ${\text{O}}_{2}$ to diffuse out.

Thin broad leaves provide maximum SA:V, but they also means greater water loss and susceptibility to wind damage.

In drier climates the leaf surface is reduced to slender blades or even to needles to make a smaller SA:V and less evaporative surface.

For example, dill has skinny leaves and thin stems, which means increased SA:V.

Lots of surface area means that there is optimal surface to photosynthesize and produce energy for the plant.