Biotech Updates

Biotech Crops for a High CO2 and O3 Future

May 9, 2008

Global climate change is expected to alter many elements of the future crop production environment. Drought, extreme temperature and high salinity have challenged farmers since the beginning of agriculture. With climate change, these challenges are expected to worsen. Currently, agricultural research institutions and companies are developing and building up crop germplasm which have drought-resistant, heat and cold-tolerant and nitrogen use efficiency.  A review published by the journal Plant Physiology discusses another facet of climate change and agriculture: improving crops for a high carbon dioxide (CO2) and ozone (O3) environment.

Strategies to this end could include the modification of  crop responsiveness to high atmospheric CO2 concentration by modifying the properties of Rubisco (ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase), a key enzyme in the carbon fixation pathway and usually the rate-limiting factor in photosynthesis. Another approach will be to increase the capacity of RuBP (ribulose bisphosphate), the principal CO2 acceptor. Likewise plant ozone tolerance can be modified by controlling O3 entry into leaves, improving detoxification within cells and modifying the signal transduction pathway.

The full review is available for free at