Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Team models photosynthesis, finds room for improvement

Date:
March 4, 2014
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Teaching crop plants to concentrate carbon dioxide in their leaves could increase photosynthetic efficiency by 60 percent and yields by as much as 40 percent, researchers report in a new study. The team used a computer model to simulate how adding genes from algae known as cyanobacteria might influence photosynthetic efficiency in plants.

Teaching crop plants to concentrate carbon dioxide in their leaves could increase photosynthetic efficiency by 60 percent and yields by as much as 40 percent, researchers report in a new study.

Related Articles


The team used a computer model to simulate how adding genes from a type of photosynthetic algae known as cyanobacteria might influence photosynthetic efficiency in plants. Cyanobacteria contain small structures, called carboxysomes, which concentrate carbon dioxide at the site of photosynthesis.

"Photosynthesis is the most studied of all plant processes, so we really know this in great detail and can represent it well in silico," said University of Illinois plant biology professor Stephen Long, who led the study with postdoctoral researcher Justin McGrath. "We've modeled the whole system, and added all the components in a cyanobacterial system one at a time to our computer simulation to see if they give us an advantage."

The team found that some of the carboxysome genes hindered, while others greatly enhanced photosynthetic efficiency in crop plants such as soybean, rice and cassava. For example, adding a gene for a bicarbonate transporter, which carries carbon dioxide across the carboxysome membrane, enhances photosynthesis by 6 percent, Long said.

"And if we put in about eight components of the carboxysome system, the model says that we could get a 60 percent increase in photosynthesis," he said.

The new findings appear in the journal Plant Physiology.

Modeling photosynthesis in crop plants has proven to be an efficient way to determine which kinds of genetic manipulations will be most fruitful, Long said. This prevents a lot of wasted time and money spent trying things in the laboratory that are doomed to fail.

The work is very exciting, but will take many years to implement, Long said. "It will take about five years before we have our first test of concept in a model plant. And then, even if everything goes (according) to plan, it might be 15 or 20 years before we see this in any crop," he said.

"The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization predicts that we're going to need about 70 percent more primary foodstuffs by the middle of this century," Long said. "So obviously new innovations like this are needed to try and get there, especially since the approaches of the Green Revolution are now approaching their biological limits."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. M. McGrath, S. P. Long. Can the cyanobacterial carbon-concentrating mechanism increase photosynthesis in crop species? A theoretical analysis.. PLANT PHYSIOLOGY, 2014; DOI: 10.1104/pp.113.232611

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Team models photosynthesis, finds room for improvement." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304113536.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2014, March 4). Team models photosynthesis, finds room for improvement. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304113536.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Team models photosynthesis, finds room for improvement." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304113536.htm (accessed March 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, March 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bionic Ants Could Be Tomorrow's Factory Workers

Bionic Ants Could Be Tomorrow's Factory Workers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) Industrious 3D printed bionic ants working together could toil in the factories of the future, says German technology company Festo. The robotic insects cooperate and coordinate their actions and movements to achieve a common aim. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Captive-Born Panda Triplets Are Eight Months Old

Captive-Born Panda Triplets Are Eight Months Old

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) The world&apos;s only surviving captivity-born panda triplets turn eight months old, according to China’s state media. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lions Make Surprise Comeback in Gabon

Lions Make Surprise Comeback in Gabon

AFP (Mar. 30, 2015) Lions have made a comeback in southeast Gabon, after disappearing for years, according to live footage from US wildlife organisation Panthera. Duration: 00:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ancient Egyptian Beer Making Vessels Discovered in Israel

Ancient Egyptian Beer Making Vessels Discovered in Israel

AFP (Mar. 30, 2015) Fragments of pottery used by Egyptians to make beer and dating back 5,000 years have been discovered on a building site in Tel Aviv, the Israeli Antiquities Authority said on Sunday. Duration: 00:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins