|Niinemets, U - ESTONIAN UNIVERSITY OF LIFE SCIENCES|
|Berry, Joseph - CARNEGIE INSTITUTE - WASHINGTON|
|Von Caemmerer, Susanne - AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY|
|Parry, Martin A J - LANCASTER UNIVERSITY|
|Poorter, Hendrik - FORSCHUNGSZENTRUM JUELICH GMBH|
Submitted to: New Phytologist
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/15/2016
Publication Date: 1/15/2017
Citation: Niinemets, U., Berry, J.A., von Caemmerer, S., Ort, D.R., Parry, M., Poorter, H. 2017. Photosynthesis: ancient, essential, complex, diverse ... and in need of improvement in a changing world. New Phytologist. 213:43-47.
Technical Abstract: A challenge to crop improvement is the fact that the photosynthetic process has been fine tuned by billions of years of natural selection, and is subject to deeply rooted genetic controls shaped in the native environments of the crop ancestors. These may be difficult to change and may not be optimal for current agro-ecosystems. This is demonstrated by an investigation that reported on mechanisms underlying the historical 80 year improvement in soybean yield showing that soybean yield has been driven largely by a near doubling of harvest index. While carbon gain has increased somewhat in modern soybean cultivars, it has been due to increased stomatal conductance and lower water use efficiency. Yet, photosynthesis is the only yield determinant that is not close to its biological limits. In the following, the focus is on highlights pertaining to rate-limiting processes for which improvement could increase crop yield, and on new advancements in monitoring and predictive modeling of plant photosynthesis.