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New progress towards maximizing photosynthesis in plants.

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New progress towards maximizing photosynthesis in plants.

Post by Sk on Thu Dec 24, 2015 10:37 am

Scientists from the John Innes Centre, the universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh and Stanford University in California, have shown that genes from an alga which is capable of very efficient photosynthesis can function properly when introduced into Arabidopsis, a plant commonly used for scientific experiments. They also showed that the presence of the algal genes does not have a negative effect on the growth or functioning of the plant.

The interior of a plant leaf containing an algal carbon-concentrating mechanism (CCM) component. The leaf chloroplasts (containing RuBisCO) – are red, and the locations of the algal CCM component are green.In many plants including the major crops wheat and rice, productivity and yield are limited by the properties of the enzyme that starts the process of photosynthesis – the conversion of carbon dioxide from the air into the sugars required for plant growth. This enzyme – called RuBisCO – operates inefficiently at the levels of carbon dioxide present inside a leaf. If carbon dioxide concentrations in the leaf were higher, the enzyme would operate more efficiently, more sugars would be produced and the plant would grow faster and become more productive. In an effort to increase crop yields, biotechnologists are investigating how the carbon dioxide concentration in the leaves of these crop plants might be elevated.
One promising line of enquiry is a carbon-concentrating mechanism (CCM) that operates in single-celled green algae. These algae live in water, an environment with very low carbon dioxide concentrations. They pump bicarbonate – a hydrated form of carbon dioxide – into their cells to achieve a high internal concentration. An enzyme called carbonic anhydrase then converts bicarbonate to carbon dioxide in a region of the cell that contains the RuBisCO, so enabling the RuBisCO to operate with high efficiency.
(Adapted from article )

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