Illinois: Bioengineers and scientists are searching and finding ways to increase the yield of crop plants for better survival for a very long time. Recently, the researchers for RIPE (Realising Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency) have attained success by proving that multigene bioengineering of photosynthesis increases the yield of a major food crop.
The researchers of Illinois have transgenically altered soyabean plants to increase the efficiency of photosynthesis without losing the quality but with an increase in yield.
Amanda De Souza, Ph.D. and the project research scientist of RIPE, said in an interview that as the number of food deficiency is increasing with the people altering land, they have come forward to solve this problem by the use of bioengineering.
She added that improving photosynthesis by employing bioengineering can yield a great number of crop plants without altering the quality and can provide sufficient food without any use of the land. She is also the author of the research published paper in Science titled, “Soyabean photosynthesis and crop yield are improved by accelerating recovery from photoprotection“. With one such experiment, they are expecting the final results by 2023.
RIPE is an international research project that aims to increase all food production by increasing photosynthetic efficiency. The researchers aim to use this method in helping smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa with many organizations and NGOs.
As claimed by UNICEF, the global world will face food scarcity by 2030, leaving more than 600 million people facing the issue. The problem will arise due to climate change and insufficient food supply. As the process of photosynthesis is main and important for all plant groups, the researchers focused more on this concept.
The researchers improved the VPZ construct within the soyabean plant to improve photosynthesis. The VPZ construct contains three genes that code for proteins of the xanthophyll cycle. The leaves dissipate excess energy and when they are shaded, the photoprotection needs to switch off so that they can continue the process of photosynthesis with a reserve of sunlight.
Switching off the protective mechanism takes a lot of time and thereby wastes the precious time of plants hence the researchers manipulate or alter the three genes from the VPZ construct that help the plants to accelerate the process and save their time and increase the photosynthetic rate.
First used in the tobacco plants and then went from genetic transformation to a field trial and then to one of the most complicated but important vegetables protein soyabean, the researchers were then finally convinced with the usage of the technology that at one point increases the yield and unchanged the protein content on the other hand.
Co-author and RIPE director Stephan Long added that after using the method in two of the most important crops, they are now confirmed that the method has its universal applicability. They are focused and aimed to help the needy farmers with this project that can help replenish the food scarcity in the global world.