Dictionary > Crassulacean acid metabolism

Crassulacean acid metabolism

An elaborate carbon fixation pathway in which the stomata are open in cooler and more humid night-time hours, permitting the uptake of CO2 to be fixed and stored as a four-carbon acid (i.e. malate) so that during the hotter and drier day-time hours the CO2 is released providing the enzyme rubisco with high concentration of CO2 while the stomata are closed to reduce water loss through evapotranspiration.
The pathway renders plants able to thrive and adapt in arid environments. CAM was first observed by the botanists, Ranson and Thomas, in the Crassulaceae family of succulents.
Word origin: from the Crassulaceae family of succulent plants where it was first observed.
Abbreviation: CAM.
Compare: C3 carbon fixation pathway, C4 carbon fixation pathway.

See also: CAM plant.

You will also like...

Direct and indirect physiologic effects of growth hormone
Animal Growth Hormones

Hormones are produced in the endocrine glands of animals. The pituitary gland and hypothalamus are the most impor..

Body temperature regulation by the hypothalamus
Temperature Regulation in Animals

This tutorial elucidates body temperature regulation. Know the details here to learn how the body sets the body temperat..


Muscle cells are specialized to generate force and movement. Learn about the different types of muscle tissues in this t..

Chemical composition of the body
Chemical Composition of the Body

The body is comprised of different elements with hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen as the major four. This tutorial..

Community Patterns

Learn about community patterns and the ecological factors influencing these patterns. Revisit some of the ecosystems you..

human brain structure
The Conscious & Unconscious Nervous System

This tutorial elaborates on how the nervous system works, particularly at the tissue level of the brain. There are three..