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Current and possible approaches for improving photosynthetic efficiency

Éva, Csaba, Oszvald, Mária, Tamás, László
Plant science 2019 v.280 pp. 433-440
C3 plants, C4 photosynthesis, antennae, biotechnology, carbon dioxide, drought tolerance, energy, enzyme activity, genetic factors, harvest index, metabolites, new species, ribulose-bisphosphate carboxylase, stress tolerance
One of the most important tasks laying ahead today’s biotechnology is to improve crop productivity with the aim of meeting increased food and energy demands of humankind. Plant productivity depends on many genetic factors, including life cycle, harvest index, stress tolerance and photosynthetic activity. Many approaches were already tested or suggested to improve either. Limitations of photosynthesis have also been uncovered and efforts been taken to increase its efficiency. Examples include decreasing photosynthetic antennae size, increasing the photosynthetically available light spectrum, countering oxygenase activity of Rubisco by implementing C4 photosynthesis to C3 plants and altering source to sink transport of metabolites. A natural and effective photosynthetic adaptation, the sugar alcohol metabolism got however remarkably little attention in the last years, despite being comparably efficient as C4, and can be considered easier to introduce to new species. We also propose root to shoot carbon-dioxide transport as a means to improve photosynthetic performance and drought tolerance at the same time. Different suggestions and successful examples are covered here for improving plant photosynthesis as well as novel perspectives are presented for future research.