Crop Biotech Update

Naturally Occurring Plant Enzyme to Increase Wheat Yields

February 10, 2016

Scientists at Lancaster University, Rothamsted Research, and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) have studied the naturally occurring plant enzyme Rubisco to explore its ability to increase wheat yields. The research team measured photosynthesis in 25 genotypes of wheat, including wild relatives of bread wheat, and found that variation exists even among closely related genotypes. Superior Rubisco enzymes for improving photosynthesis were identified from each genotype.

The researchers found that two of the most efficient were Rubisco from Aegilops cylindrica (jointed goatgrass) and Hordeum vulgare (barley), both showed promising Rubisco catalytic properties that could be explored to improve wheat photosynthesis and grain yield. It is suggested that incorporating the new enzymes into wheat could increase photosynthesis by 20 percent under field conditions.

For more details about this study, read the news release at the Lancaster University website.