CAM is the acronym for Crassulacean Acid Metabolism, named for the Crassulaceae plant family in which it was discovered.

The chemical reaction of CO2 accumulation is similar to that of C4 plants, but in CAM plants CO2 fixation and its assimilation are separated temporally rather than spatially. CAM plants occur mainly in arid regions, where the opening of stomata to take up CO2 would be connected with large losses of water. To reduce this trans-stomatal loss during intense sun (transpiration via the cuticle continues), CAM plants utilize a mechanism that permits nocturnal uptake of CO2. Prefixed CO2 is stored in the vacuoles as malate (and isocitrate) and is subsequently utilized during the daytime in the C-3, Calvin cycle.

Table ~ comparison of C-3, C-4, CAM plants :

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