ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis

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Sorghum

Project Description

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis seeks to develop and harness advances in photosynthesis research, crop bioengineering, plant phenomics and computational tools to realise increased and sustainable crop yields, opening new routes to achieving the next revolution in plant productivity. It aims to deliver improved yield by undertaking a continuum of fundamental and applied photosynthesis research and targeting projects with a high probability of producing increased yield.

A new boost to plant productivity is needed to feed the expected increase in world population and to provide world food security. Photosynthesis is one of the fundamental plant processes driving crop productivity. Improvements in photosynthesis are now widely recognised as the new frontier for increasing crop yields and this Centre seeks to harness new developments in photosynthesis research to achieve the next yield revolution.

The Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis is 7 year $22M collaboration between The Australian National University, the University of Queensland, CSIRO, the University of Sydney, the University of Western Sydney and the International Rice Research Institute. The centre seeks to develop and harness advances in photosynthesis research, crop bioengineering, plant phenomics and computational tools to realise increased and sustainable crop yields, opening new routes to achieving the next revolution in plant productivity. It will deliver improved yield by undertaking a continuum of fundamental and applied photosynthesis research and targeting projects with a high probability of producing increased yield. Links with national and international institutions, consortia and breeding companies will enhance the prospects of translating genetic improvements into crops such as wheat, rice and sorghum for improved yield.

Research Programs

The centre has four interlinked research programs

  1. Improving leaf CO2 capture. Fundamental research is needed to solve how to alter the molecular properties and function of the primary CO2 fixing enzyme, Rubisco. Raising the performance of this enzyme is key to increasing the efficiency of photosynthesis with respect to light, nitrogen, water and temperature.
  2. Improving light energy capture. To increase the amount of light available for photosynthesis, we will introduce novel chlorophyll pigments from cyanobacteria into leaf chloroplasts to broaden the spectrum of light absorbed. Secondly, by increasing photosynthetic capacity, we will increase light harvesting efficiency by reducing wastage of excess sunlight.
  3. Exploiting photosynthetic variation. Combining the power of modern plant phenomics, genome sequencing and modern plant breeding will speed up the identification of improved photosynthetic traits and their underlying genetic determinants for downstream integration in plant breeding programs.
  4. Linking leaf function and field performance of crops. Plant performance-based models will be developed to optimise bioengineering and breeding strategies for increasing photosynthesis and growth. The refined modelling will allow rapid and efficient identification of beneficial traits which will be tested in field trials.

Researchers at Hermitage are focused on projects within Program 3: Exploiting photosynthetic variation (Program co-leaders –Furbank CSIRO, Jordan UQ).

The major outcomes for this research will be the Identification of diverse photosynthetic phenotypes and associated allelic variation in Sorghum, brachypodium and Oryza followed by the confirmation of improved plant performance and the identification of candidate genes and the translation of research results to commercial breeding programs.

Starting Year

2014

Ending Year

2021

Status

In Progress

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