Rice plants engineered to be better at photosynthesis make more rice

phys.org | 1/10/2019 | Staff
mel4 (Posted by) Level 4
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A new bioengineering approach for boosting photosynthesis in rice plants could increase grain yield by up to 27%, according to a study publishing January 10 in the journal Molecular Plant. The approach, called GOC bypass, enriches plant cells with CO2 that would otherwise be lost through a metabolic process called photorespiration. The genetically engineered plants were greener and larger and showed increased photosynthetic efficiency and productivity under field conditions, with particular advantages in bright light.

"Food shortage related to world population growth will be a serious problem our planet will have to face," says senior study author Xin-Xiang Peng of South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou, China. "Our study could have a major impact on this problem by significantly increasing rice yield, especially for areas with bright light."

Improvement - Rice - Food - Crop - Worldwide

Bioengineering improvement of rice, a staple food crop worldwide, has high practical importance, particularly in light of the need for increased crop productivity due to world population growth and the reduction of cultivable soils. But increases in yield for rice and several other major crops have been sparse in recent years, and crop yield seems to be reaching a ceiling of maximal potential.

The main genetic approach for increasing the yield potential of major crops focuses on photosynthesis, the biochemical process in which CO2 and water are converted into O2 and energy-rich sugar compounds that fuel plant growth. One way to increase photosynthesis is to bypass photorespiration, a light-dependent process in which O2 is taken up and CO2 released. The cost of photorespiration is massive. Abolishing photorespiration could result in up to a 55% increase in photosynthesis, placing photorespiration on center stage in attempts to improve photosynthetic efficiency and yield.

Years - Photorespiratory - Bypasses - Plants - Increases

Over the past few years, three photorespiratory bypasses have been introduced into plants, and two of these led to observable increases in photosynthesis and biomass yield....
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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