Researchers have found a way to engineer more efficient versions of the plant enzyme Rubisco by using a red-algae-like Rubisco from a bacterium. For 50 years scientists have striven to boost the activity of Rubisco, a promising target to increase crop production, as it controls how much and how fast plants fix carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into sugars and energy during photosynthesis.
Scientists have engineered a key plant enzyme and introduced it in Escherichia coli bacteria in order to create an optimal experimental environment for studying how to speed up photosynthesis, a holy grail for improving crop yields. Scientists have known that crop yields would increase if they could accelerate the photosynthesis process, where plants convert carbon dioxide (CO2), water and light into oxygen and eventually into sucrose, a sugar used for energy and for building new plant tissue.
The evolution of novel features – traits such as wings or eyes – helps organisms make the most use of their environment and promotes increased diversification among species. Understanding the underlying genetic and developmental mechanisms involved in the origin of these traits is of great interest to evolutionary biologists.
All plants and animals respire, releasing energy from food. At the cellular level, this process occurs in the mitochondria. But there are differences at the molecular level between how plants and animals extract energy from food sources. Discovering those differences could help revolutionize agriculture.
Researchers use a new method of in vivo biosensor technology. Almost all life on Earth, in particular our food and our health, depend on metabolism in plants. In order to understand how these metabolic processes function, researchers are studying key mechanisms in the regulation of energy metabolism.
The oldest trees on Earth have stood for nearly five millennia, and researchers have long wondered to what extent these ancient organisms undergo senescence, physically deteriorating as they age. In a Forum recently published plant biologist argues that although signs of senescence in long-lived trees may be almost imperceptible to people, this does not mean that they’re immortal.
On the surface, the humble melon may just look like a tasty treat to most. But researchers have found that this fruit has hidden depths: retrotransposons (sometimes called “jumping sequences”) may change how genes are expressed.
Crop hybrid technologies have contributed to the significant yield improvement worldwide in the past decades. However, designing and maintaining a hybrid production line has always been complex and laborious. Now, researchers have developed a new system combining CRISPR-mediated genome editing with other approaches that could produce better seeds compared with conventional hybrid methods and shorten the production timeline by 5 to 10 years.
After several years of experimentation, scientists have engineered thale cress, or Arabidopsis thaliana, to behave like a succulent, improving water-use efficiency, salinity tolerance and reducing the effects of drought. The tissue succulence engineering method devised for this small flowering plant can be used in other plants to improve drought and salinity tolerance with the goal of moving this approach into food and bioenergy crops.
As a plant grows, it moves cellular material from its version of manufacturing sites to the cell wall construction zone. Transporter proteins, called motor proteins, are thought to move these cell wall cargo via a complex highway system made up of microtubule tracks. The position of these tracks must be stabilized so that cargo are delivered to the correct locations.