Biotech Updates

Technology to Measure Plant Improvements Helps Boost Production

May 22, 2019

An international research team is using advanced tools to develop crops that give farmers more options for sustainably producing more food on less land.

"The method we developed allows us to measure improvements we have engineered in a plant's photosynthesis machinery in about 10 seconds, compared to the traditional method that takes up 30 minutes," said Katherine Meacham-Hensold, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Illinois, who led the team for the project Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE).

The traditional method for assessing photosynthesis analyzes the exchange of gases through the leaf. A faster, or "higher-throughput" method, called spectral analysis, analyzes the light that is reflected back from leaves to predict photosynthetic capacity in as little as 10 seconds. Before the study, the team was unsure if spectral techniques can be used for plants with genetically altered photosynthetic machinery. Now they can apply spectral techniques to predict the photosynthetic capacity of genetically modified crops.

For more details, read the news article from RIPE.