Researchers from Illinois University develop crop with 40% more productivity

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University of Illinois

Researchers from the University of Illinois and the US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, report in the journal Science that crops developed with a photorepractable shortcut are 40 percent more productive under real agronomic conditions.

Plants use photosynthesis to convert sunlight into energy. The disadvantage of photosynthesis is that most plants on the planet are plagued by a photosynthetic malfunction and to tackle this, an energy-intensive process has been developed called photorespiration. This however dramatically suppresses its yield potential.

Photosynthesis uses the most common protein and sunlight energy of the enzyme Rubisco to convert carbon dioxide and water into sugars for growth and yield of fuel. In the course of the millennia Rubisco has become the victim of his own success and creates a fiery atmosphere. Rubisco picks up oxygen instead of carbon dioxide by about 20 percent of the time, allowing a plant-toxic compound to be gained through the photo-sporulation process.

The results are part of a study by an international research project; Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE). Researchers engineer crops to photosynthesize more efficiently to sustainably increase worldwide food productivity. The project is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), and the U.K. Government’s Department for International Development (DFID).

Source: Science Daily Photo: University of Illinois

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