limiting factor

noun
1.
Physiology. the slowest, therefore rate-limiting, step in a process or reaction involving several steps.
2.
Biology. an environmental factor that tends to limit population size.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Example sentences
One of the limiting factors on production of hybrid cars is the availability
  and cost of batteries.
We must understand what limiting factors affect us now, and how they may change
  in the future.
These vents are one of the limiting factors on what organic compounds would
  exist in the primitive oceans.
Scale and profit are not the limiting factors for micro-credit.
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