Photosynthesis Vs. Hunger: Study Reveals The Latest Method In Speeding Up Photosynthesis To Produce More Crops
A group of researchers from the University of Illinois conducted a study that proposed the modification of a plant's non-photochemical quenching process or NPQ to increase plant production. The researchers tested three protein concepts involved in photosynthesis which yielded an increase in plant productivity.
Growing the number of crop yields is believed to be important in fighting hunger. It could help save lives and also improve the economic status of many countries, Stgist reported.
Additionally, agricultural lands nowadays are being turned into industrial and commercial establishments. This may greatly affect the number of crops that could be planted in a year and could lead to insufficient supply of food.
A new study conducted by scientists that can potentially boost crop yields by maximizing photosynthesis could be a step to help fight hunger. The study's lead author Stephen P. Long, a plant biologist and crop sciences professor at the University of Illinois, explained that their objective was to modify three protein levels that are present in nicotine-rich tobacco.
The increase in protein levels is believed to be important to promote photosynthesis when NPQ does not relax quickly during times when the plants are shaded from sunlight. But what is NPQ and how does it affect photosynthesis?
NPQ is a protection mechanism employed by plants to combat the dangers of high light intensity. When plants are exposed to extreme sunlight, they could absorb more than what they need which may cause the leaves to get dry or bleached.
NPQ takes place in situations like these and allows the plants to dissipate the excess energy as heat through molecular vibrations. It also helps regulate photosynthesis by relaxing its process at times when the leaves are covered or when clouds block the sun.
During these times, plants need more light to promote photosynthesis. However, there are situations wherein NPQ still continues its function and causes light to be transformed into heat unnecessarily.
The prolonged NPQ process could be a waste of light and could also limit the process of photosynthesis. Because of this, the researchers looked for interventions to speed up the plant's response time by injecting three proteins involved in NPQ process, Los Angeles Times reported.
The study made use of a fluorescence imaging technique to examine which of the modified plants will recover more quickly after putting them under shade. After several tests, the result showed that it is possible to improve photosynthesis as the modified plants showed 14 to 20 percent higher production.
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