Crop Biotech Update

Breakthrough in Understanding Rubisco to Help Feed the World

August 3, 2016

Researchers at Lancaster University and Liverpool John Moores University have made an important breakthrough in understanding Rubisco, the central plant enzyme responsible for photosynthesis. This breakthrough could help address global food security.

The researchers looked at 75 plant species, including grasses, wild rice, melons, and beans from across the world, to assess the ability of their Rubiscos in assimilating CO2 at different temperature ranges to replicate the effects of a changing climate. They identified a number of superior Rubiscos which could improve photosynthetic efficiency in crops such as wheat and soybean.

Some of these Rubisco enzymes have superior characteristics that now offer the possibility of engineering plants which grow more quickly, and with less need for additional fertilizers. The researchers and their collaborators are working toward improving crops such as rice, cassava, soybean, and cowpea.

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