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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Jul 14;112(28):8529-36. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1424031112. Epub 2015 Jun 29.

Redesigning photosynthesis to sustainably meet global food and bioenergy demand.

Author information

1
Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit, United States Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801; Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801; Department of Plant Biology, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801; d-ort@illinois.edu.
2
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095; University of California, Los Angeles-Department of Energy Institute for Genomics and Proteomics, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095;
3
CNRS, Unité Mixte de Recherche Biologie Végétale et Microbiologie Environnementale, Saint-Paul-lez-Durance 13115, France;
4
Department of Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403;
5
Department of Biology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63130; Department of Chemistry, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63130;
6
Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Pflanzenphysiologie, Potsdam-Golm 14476, Germany;
7
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam 1081, The Netherlands;
8
Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853;
9
Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EA, United Kingdom;
10
Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801; Department of Plant Biology, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801; Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801;
11
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287; Center for Bioenergy and Photosynthesis, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287;
12
Department of Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803;
13
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720; Department of Plant & Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94720;
14
Rothamsted Research, Harpenden AL5 2JQ, United Kingdom;
15
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332;
16
ExxonMobil Biomedical Sciences, Annandale, NJ 08801;
17
Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011;
18
Department of Plant Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853;
19
Center for Bioenergy and Photosynthesis, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287; School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287;
20
Research School of Biology, Australian National University, Canberra 2601, Australia;
21
Department of Plant Biochemistry, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf 40225, Germany; Cluster of Excellence on Plant Science, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf 40225, Germany;
22
Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843;
23
CAS Key Laboratory for Computational Biology, CAS-MPG Partner institute for Computational Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China.

Abstract

The world's crop productivity is stagnating whereas population growth, rising affluence, and mandates for biofuels put increasing demands on agriculture. Meanwhile, demand for increasing cropland competes with equally crucial global sustainability and environmental protection needs. Addressing this looming agricultural crisis will be one of our greatest scientific challenges in the coming decades, and success will require substantial improvements at many levels. We assert that increasing the efficiency and productivity of photosynthesis in crop plants will be essential if this grand challenge is to be met. Here, we explore an array of prospective redesigns of plant systems at various scales, all aimed at increasing crop yields through improved photosynthetic efficiency and performance. Prospects range from straightforward alterations, already supported by preliminary evidence of feasibility, to substantial redesigns that are currently only conceptual, but that may be enabled by new developments in synthetic biology. Although some proposed redesigns are certain to face obstacles that will require alternate routes, the efforts should lead to new discoveries and technical advances with important impacts on the global problem of crop productivity and bioenergy production.

KEYWORDS:

carbon capture/conversion; enabling plant biotechnology tools; light capture/conversion; smart canopy; sustainable crop production

PMID:
26124102
PMCID:
PMC4507207
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1424031112
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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