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Don Ort

Scientists engineer shortcut for photosynthetic glitch, boost crop growth 40%

January 3, 2019

Plants convert sunlight into energy through photosynthesis; however, most crops on the planet are plagued by a photosynthetic glitch, and to deal with it, evolved an energy-expensive process called photorespiration that drastically suppresses their yield potential. Today, researchers from the University of Illinois and U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service report in the journal Science that crops engineered with a photorespiratory shortcut are 40 percent more productive in real-world agronomic conditions.


January 3, 2019


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Nine Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influential

November 29, 2018

Nine faculty members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been named to the 2018 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list, including four from the IGB.

The list recognizes “leading researchers in the sciences and social sciences from around the world,” according to Clarivate Analytics.  It is based on an analysis of journal article publication and citation data, an objective measure of a researcher’s influence, from 2005-17.


November 29, 2018


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RIPE project receives additional $13 million

November 20, 2018

This week, families across the U.S. will gather around Thanksgiving tables in a traditional celebration of the season’s bounty. By improving how key crops transform sunlight into yield, Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) will one day help farmers put food on more tables worldwide, especially where it is needed most.


November 20, 2018


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Hacking evolution, screening technique may improve most widespread enzyme

November 2, 2017

Plants evolved over millions of years into an environment that has dramatically changed in the last 150 years since the Industrial Revolution began: carbon dioxide levels have increased 50 percent, and the average global temperature has increased by nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit. While natural adaptation has been unable to keep up, scientists have developed tools to simulate millions of years of evolution in days to help plants adapt.


November 2, 2017


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Newly characterized protein has potential to save US farmers millions annually

March 27, 2017

Instead of turning carbon into food, many plants accidentally make a plant-toxic compound during photosynthesis that is recycled through a process called photorespiration. University of Illinois and USDA/ARS researchers report in Plant Cell the discovery of a key protein in this process, which they hope to manipulate to increase plant productivity.


March 27, 2017


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