Improved model can help scientists better predict crop yield, climate change effects

According to a study published in a July 2019 issue of the journal Photosynthesis Research, an innovative computer model incorporates how microscopic pores on leaves might open in response to light. This can help the scientists in creating the virtual plants to forecast how rising levels of carbon dioxide and higher temperatures will affect food crops. 

Johannes Kromdijk led the work as part of an international research project known as RIPE (Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency), said, ‘this is a thrilling new computer model that can help us make much more precise predictions across a wide array of conditions’. 

Led by the University of Illinois, RIPE is engineering crops to be more fruitful without using more water by improving the process of photosynthesis, the natural process all plants use for converting sunlight into energy to let growth as well as crop yields. RIPE is supported by the U.S. Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), the U.K. Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Stephen Long, Ikenberry Endowed University Chair of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology at the University of Illinois said, ‘we have known for many years that stomatal opening and photosynthesis are closely matched, but just how this works has remained unsure.’ So, with the innovative computer model, we have a much superior tool to calculate stomatal movements in response to light.’

But still, there is a lot of work that should be done for showing that this innovative model functions in an extensive array of applications and to strengthen the relationship between photosynthesis and stomata further.

Katarzyna Glowacka is a former RIPE member and now an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln said, ‘we have to show that this model works for a broad range of locations and species’. 


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