Setaria viridis, the model plant used to find a bottleneck relief in photosynthesis
Original Published Date: 
Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Full Article issued by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis (CoETP) and The Australian National University.

ARC-supported scientists at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis have found how to relieve a bottleneck in the process by which plants transform sunlight into food, which may lead to an increase in crop production. They discovered that producing more of a protein that controls the rate in which electrons flow during photosynthesis, accelerates the whole process.

Dr Maria Ermakova, the lead author of the paper published in the journal Communications Biology, said that this is the first time that scientists have generated more of the Rieske FeS protein inside plants that use the C4 photosynthesis pathway.

Until now, the majority of efforts to improve photosynthesis have been done in species that use C3 photosynthesis, such as wheat and rice, but not a lot has been done in enhancing C4 photosynthesis. This is despite the fact that C4 crop species— like maize and sorghum—play a key role in world agriculture, and are already some of the most productive crops in the world.  

The research is the result of an international collaboration with researchers from the University of Essex in the UK, who are part of the Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) project.

Photo credit: 

Image: Setaria viridis, the model plant used to find a bottleneck relief in photosynthesis. Credit: Natalia Bateman, CoETP.