Here comes the sun: How optimization of photosynthetic light reactions can boost crop yields.
Photosynthesis started to evolve some 3.5 billion years ago, when our atmosphere was composed of a much lower CO2 concentration. CO2 is the driving force of all photosynthetic processes and in the past 200-250 years, atmospheric levels have doubled due to human industrial activities. This time span, however, is not sufficient for adaptation mechanisms of photosynthesis to be evolutionarily manifested. Steep increases in human population, shortage of arable land and food, and climate change call for actions, now. Thanks to substantial research efforts and advances in the last century, basic knowledge of photosynthetic and primary metabolic processes can now be translated into strategies to optimize photosynthesis to its full potential in order to improve crop yields and food supply for the future. Many different approaches have been proposed in recent years, some of which have already proven successful in different crop species. Here, we summarize recent advances on modifications of the complex network of photosynthetic light reactions. These are the starting point of all biomass production and supply the energy equivalents necessary for downstream processes as well as the oxygen we breathe. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (via University Of Illinois) (088649-17776)