A recent article published in Nature (International Weekly Journal of Science) speaks about yield hacking using algae, what an amazing similarity.

Algal enzyme can speed up rate at which plants make food.

It is difficult to find fault with a process that can create food from sunlight, water and air, but for many plants, there is room for improvement. Researchers have taken an important step towards enhancing photosynthesis by engineering plants with enzymes from blue-green algae that speed up the process of converting carbon dioxide into sugars.

The results, published today in Nature, surmount a daunting hurdle on the path to boosting plant yields — a goal that is taking on increasing importance as the world’s population grows.

“With the limited ability to increase land use for agriculture, there’s a huge interest in trying to improve yield across all the major crops,” says Steven Gutteridge, a research fellow at chemical firm DuPont’s crop-protection division in Newark, Delaware.

Researchers have long wanted to increase yields by targeting Rubisco, the enzyme responsible for converting carbon dioxide into sugar. Rubisco is possibly the most abundant protein on Earth, and can account for up to half of all the soluble protein found in a leaf.

But one reason for its abundance is its inefficiency: plants produce so much Rubisco in part to compensate for its slow catalysis. Some have estimated that tinkering with Rubisco and ways to boost the concentration of carbon dioxide around it could generate up to a 60% increase in the yields of crops such as rice and wheat.

Light speed

Plant geneticist Maureen Hanson of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and her colleagues decided to borrow a faster Rubisco from the cyanobacterium…


Full article: http://www.nature.com/news/hacked-photosynthesis-could-boost-crop-yields-1.15949


Photo credit: chain45154/Moment/Getty