Scientists Now Create A Shortcut For Photosynthesis, Improve Plant Growth

Photosynthesis, in its name itself, suggests that it is a process and it involves sunlight. We have been familiarised with the biological process of Photosynthesis way back in our early schooling days. Sunlight converted into energy with the use of air, water and soil minerals is Photosynthesis. This process has a fault and this is called the Photo-Respiration, which affects the plant growth and yield.

The Photorespiration process is the energy-expensive process happening during the night, using the energy produced during the day. The Yield potential of the crops is drastically suppressed by this biological inbuilt fault, in all the plants on the planet.

Researchers at the University of Illinois and from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, have engineered a way to overcome this inbuilt fault. This new technique will divert from this Photorespiration takes a shortcut and increases the yield by Forty Percent. A huge solution for real-world agronomic problems.

One of the professors has said this regarding the new technique, “We could feed up to 200 million additional people with the calories lost to photorespiration in the Midwestern U.S. each year”. Adding to it another professor of Genomic Biology had much to add.

In his words, he says,” Reclaiming even a portion of these calories across the world would go a long way to meeting the 21st Century’s rapidly expanding food demands, driven by population growth and more affluent high-calorie diets”. This great achievement was a part of Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) Project.

Photosynthesis uses the Rubisco enzyme. This enzyme is the most abundant protein in the Planet Earth. This enzyme has become both a success and a failure to the yield. On one hand, creating Oxygen, it mistakes it with Carbon-di-oxide and uses up the Oxygen.

Thus resulting in the production of an environment which is toxic to the plants, which will only be utilised by the process Photorespiration. Remarking on the process and the toxic action, a molecular biologist says, “Photorespiration is Anti-Photosynthesis”.


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