Dr Clemence Henry from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis
Original Published Date: 
Monday, November 18, 2019

Full article issued by ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis.

Research led by Dr Clemence Henry from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis (CoETP) is investigating how sugar in plants controls photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert sunlight, water and CO2 into organic matter. 

Plants make sugars to form leaves to grow and produce grains and fruits through the process of photosynthesis, but sugar accumulation can also slow down photosynthesis. The study took a different approach by focussing on the source (leaves) where sugar production and photosynthesis take place, rather than in the sinks (grains, fruits) where sugars are used. 

Dr Henry says that by comparing rice and millet, researchers found that crops that use the more efficient C4 photosynthesis path, such as maize, sorghum and millet, regulate photosynthesis using different sugar signal mechanisms than C3 crops, such as wheat and rice. One surprise result was that Ccrops are far less sensitive to high levels of sugars than expected.

"This may be part of the reason why they are more productive,” said Dr Henry.

Researching how sugars in plants control photosynthesis is an important part of finding new ways of improving cereal production. 

Photo credit: 

Image: Dr Clemence Henry from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis (CoETP), researching the effect of sugar on photosynthesis. Credit: HIE, Western Sydney University (WSU).