Better photosynthesis increases food crop yields

For the first time. After more than a decade of working towards this goal. resulting in better yields without loss of quality.

Results of this magnitude couldn’t come at a more critical second. The latest United Nations report, The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2022, revealed that in 2021, nearly 10 % of the world’s population suffered from hunger, a situation that has continued to s worsen in recent years and eclipse all other threats to global health on a scale. According to UNICEF, by 2030, more than 660 tens of millions of people are expected to face food shortage and malnutrition. Two of the main causes of this condition are inefficient food supply chains (access to food) and more difficult growing conditions for crops due to climate change. Improving access to food and improving the sustainability of food crops in poor areas are the main objectives of this study and the RIPE project.

or RIPE. Food and Agriculture Foundation. Research and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

“The number of people affected by food inadequacy is set to rise, and projections clearly show that ‘there has to be a change in the food supply to change the trajectory,’ said Amanda De Souza, RIPE project researcher and lead author. “Our research shows an effective way to contribute to food security for the people who need it most while preventing more land from being brought into production.

the natural process that all plants use to convert sunlight into energy and yield, is a surprisingly inefficient process of more than steps that RIPE researchers s have been striving to improve for over a decade. In this one of a kind work in his style, recently published in Science. then conducted field trials to see if yield would be improved.

The VPZ design contains three genes that code for xanthophyll cycle proteins. Once in full sun, this cycle is activated in the leaves to protect them from damage, allowing the leaves to dissipate excess energy. However, when the leaves are shaded (by other leaves, clouds, or the sun moving across the sky). It takes several minutes for the plant to deactivate the defense mechanism.

Overexpression of the three genes of the VPZ design accelerates the process, so that each time a leaf transitions from light to shade., added throughout the growing season. This research showed that despite an increase of over 20% in yield, seed quality was not affected.

“Despite higher yield, the protein content of the seeds remained unchanged. said Stephen Lengthy, director of RIPE, holder of the Ikenberry Endowed College of Crop Sciences chair. and plant biology at Illinois’ Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology.

The researchers first tested their idea on tobacco crops due to the ease of processing the crop’s genetics and the amount of seed that can be produced from a single plant. These factors allow researchers to move from genetic transformation to a field trial within months. Once the concept was proven in tobacco, they moved on to the more complicated task of putting genetics into a food crop, soybeans.

“Having now shown very substantial yield increases for both tobacco and soybeans, two very different crops, this suggests universal applicability,” Prolonged said. “Our study shows that achieving yield improvements is strongly affected by the environment. It is essential to determine the repeatability of this result in all environments and further improvements to ensure the environmental stability of the acquire.

Further field testing of these seedlings Transgenic soybeans are underway this year, with results expected early in 2023.

De Souza said. “This is the beginning of the affirmation that the ideas embedded in the RIPE project are an effective way to improve the yield of major food crops.”

The RIPE Project and its sponsors are committed to ensuring global access and making the project’s systems available to farmers who need them most.

“It’s been a road over a quarter of a century for me personally,” Extended said. the simulation of the complete process by a high effectiveness calculation, followed by the application of optimization routines which indicated several bottlenecks in the process of our cultures. The financial support over the past ten years has now enabled us to design the mitigation of some of these indicated bottlenecks and to test the products at field scale. After years of trial and tribulation, it is wonderfully gratifying to see such a spectacular result for the team.

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