Project Number: 5012-21000-027-12-N
Project Type: Nonfunded Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Aug 1, 2014
End Date: Jul 31, 2015
The main objectives of the research training are to 1) discover a better Rubisco enzyme to improve photosynthesis in crop plants, 2) to scale the responses of major crops to growth and yield using biosphere models with the novel Rubisco included and 3) to develop in-field phenotyping capabilities to parameterize and validate the models while investigating the physiological responses of crops with improved photosynthetic machinery to growth under field conditions.
1. Discovering better Rubisco. The cooperator's researchers are world leaders in in the biochemistry and molecular biology of the key photosynthetic enzyme Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate Carboxylase Oxygenase (Rubisco) and the ARS scientist is an international expert on the role of Rubisco in regulating leaf photosynthesis. While at the research facility, the ARS scientist will participate in deep screening for Rubisco genetic variability across a much broader range of plant species than ever before attempted. 2. Scaling Photosynthesis through modeling The ARS scientist's expertise in modeling photosynthesis from the chloroplast to the ecosystem coupled with cooperator's researchers' expertise in rapid determination of kinetic properties will combine to scale carbon acquisition from the enzyme to the ecosystem. The ARS scientist will use his modeling expertise at the leaf and canopy scale to develop hypotheses related to the large-scale productivity associated with Rubisco modifications. 3. In-field phenotyping. The cooperator is currently implementing a major effort toward rapid in-field phenotyping techniques for assessing various environmental, physiological, and growth characteristics of vegetation in a minimally-invasive and non-destructive manner. The technique uses cutting edge equipment and interface options on which the ARS scientist will be trained.