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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Maricopa, Arizona » U.S. Arid Land Agricultural Research Center » Plant Physiology and Genetics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #257606

Title: Raising yield potential in wheat: increasing photosynthesis capacity and efficiency

item PARRY, MARTIN - Rothamsted Research
item REYNOLDS, MATTHEW - International Maize & Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)
item Salvucci, Michael
item RAINES, CHRISTINE - University Of Essex
item ANDRALOJC, P - Rothamsted Research
item ZHU, XIN-GUANG - Chinese Academy Of Sciences
item PRICE, DEAN - Australian National University
item FURBANK, ROBERT - Commonwealth Scientific And Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

Submitted to: Journal of Experimental Botany
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/9/2010
Publication Date: 10/27/2010
Citation: Parry, M.A., Reynolds, M., Salvucci, M.E., Raines, C., Andralojc, P.J., Zhu, X., Price, D., Furbank, R., 2010. Raising yield potential in wheat: increasing photosynthesis capacity and efficiency. Journal of Experimental Botany. 62(2):453-467.

Interpretive Summary: In the process of photosynthesis, plants convert light into chemical energy. The energy produced by photosynthesis is then used to synthesize sugars and other foodstuffs from atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). To meet the nutritional and energy needs of growing world population, greater plant productivity is needed. However, the yields of the major grain crops are rapidly approaching a plateau and further increases through conventional breeding are unlikely. Thus, new strategies are needed to increase the productivity of major crop plants and biofuel organisms like algae. The most obvious strategy is to improve the efficiency of photosynthesis by removing certain bottlenecks that limit how much CO2 is taken up by plants. This article discusses some possible targets for improving photosynthetic efficiency. Since improvement of these targets is likely to increase carbon uptake by photosynthesis, the article provides a road map for strategies to boost productivity in wheat and other grain crops.

Technical Abstract: Increasing wheat yields to help to ensure food security is a major challenge. Meeting this challenge requires a quantum improvement in the yield potential of wheat. Past increases in yield potential have largely resulted from improvements in harvest index not through increased biomass. Further large increases in harvest index are unlikely, but an opportunity exists for increasing productive biomass and harvestable grain. Photosynthetic capacity and efficiency are a bottleneck to raising productivity and there is strong evidence that increasing photosynthesis will increase crop yields provided that other constraints do not become limiting. Even small increases in the rate of net photosynthesis can translate into large increases in biomass and hence yield, since carbon assimilation is integrated over the entire growing season and crop canopy. This review discusses the strategies to increase photosynthesis that are being proposed by the wheat yield consortium in order to increase wheat yield potential.