Photosynthesis Glitch

There have been numerous efforts over the years to find ways to force crop plants into avoiding the need to detox. Many have involved in finding the most efficient photorespiration approaches taken by other organisms including various algae and bacteria.

This latest effort is called Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE). Its approach was to select genes from elsewhere and test them out. A handful came from the bacterium E. Coli’s glycolate oxidation pathway. A second version used a gene for catalase, also from E. Coli, and some for a glycolate oxidase and malate synthase from plants.

Subject Number 3 used a plant malate synthase gene and a green algal gene for glycol ate dehydrogenase. These were used in conjunction with other genetic tweaks to find the most energy efficient pathway among 17 different constructs.

The third photorespiration pathway was the one that stood out from the rest in the final results, with metabolic activity surging more than 40 percent compared with controls. This gained energy translates into bigger yields. This research was published in Science Magazine.