An international research team has found that they can increase the
productivity of maize by targeting the enzyme in charge of capturing carbon
dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. Dr. Robert Sharwood from the ARC Centre
of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis at The Australian National
University (ANU), said they developed a Transgenic maize that produces more
Rubisco, the main enzyme involved in photosynthesis. The result is a plant
with improved photosynthesis and hence, growth, Sharwood added.
Through photosynthesis, plants capture CO2 from the atmosphere, but not all
plants do it in the same way. Wheat and rice use the C3 photosynthetic path,
while maize and sorghum use the more efficient C4 path. In C4 plants,
Rubisco works faster and they are more tolerant to heat and drought through
better water use efficiency.
Co-researcher David Stern from the Boyce Thompson Institute, an affiliate of
Cornell University, said they found that if they boost Rubisco inside the
maize cells, crop productivity increases.