High Yield Crops a Step Closer in Light of Photosynthesis Discovery

— Written By

November 16, 2015

University of Edinburgh

Summary:
Crops with improved yields could more easily become a reality, thanks to a development by scientists. Researchers studying a biological process that enables tiny green algae to grow efficiently have taken the first steps to recreating the mechanism in a more complex plant. Their findings could lead to the breeding of high yield varieties of common crops such as wheat, rice and barley.

151116112048_1_540x360
Scientists have transplanted cell components that help algae grow efficiently into Arabidopsis plants like the one shown here, in a step towards developing crops with high yields.
Credit: Dr. Alistair McCormick

Researchers studying a biological process that enables tiny green algae to grow efficiently have taken the first steps to recreating the mechanism in a more complex plant. Their findings could lead to the breeding of high yield varieties of common crops such as wheat, rice and barley.

Algae cells are known to have a specialized mechanism that boosts their internal concentration of carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. This process supports other mechanisms that convert this store of carbon into the sugars the cells need to grow.

Many staple crops, and nearly all vegetables, have a less efficient method of photosynthesis. They cannot actively raise their internal concentrations of CO2 in the same way as algae. If crops could be developed using the concentrating mechanism found in algae, they could have a much higher yield than existing varieties.

Read more.

University of Edinburgh announcement.

Written By

Photo of Keith Edmisten, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDr. Keith EdmistenProfessor of Crop Science & Extension Cotton Specialist (919) 515-4069 keith_edmisten@ncsu.eduCrop & Soil Sciences - NC State University
Posted on Nov 16, 2015
Was the information on this page helpful? Yes check No close
Scannable QR Code to Access Electronic Version This page can also be accessed from: go.ncsu.edu/readext?383863