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Flag leaves could help top off photosynthetic performance in rice

January 5, 2021

The flag leaf is the last to emerge, indicating the transition from crop growth to grain production. Photosynthesis in this leaf provides the majority of the carbohydrates needed for grain filling--so it is the most important leaf for yield potential. A team from the University of Illinois and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) found that some flag leaves of different varieties of rice transform light and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates better than others. This finding could potentially open new opportunities for breeding higher yielding rice varieties. 


January 5, 2021


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30 years of experiments simulate future crop climate response

October 31, 2020

Five years ago, the United Nations committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger by 2030. Since then, however, world hunger has continued to rise. Nearly 9 percent of our global population is now undernourished, according to a 2020 report from the FAO, and climate variability is a leading factor driving us off course.


October 31, 2020


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Advanced biofuels show real promise for replacing some fossil fuels

August 24, 2020

Biofuel and bioenergy systems are integral to scenarios for displacing fossil fuel use and producing negative emissions through carbon capture and storage. But the net greenhouse gas mitigation benefit of these systems has been controversial, due to concerns around carbon losses from changes in land use and foregone sequestration benefits from alternative land uses.


August 24, 2020


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Undergrad-led study suggests environment modifications could maximize productivity

June 24, 2020

The crops we grow in the field often form dense canopies with many overlapping leaves, such that young “sun leaves” at the top of the canopy are exposed to full sunlight with older “shade leaves” at the bottom. In order to maximize photosynthesis, resource-use efficiency, and yield, sun leaves typically maximize photosynthetic efficiency at high light, while shade leaves maximize efficiency at low light. 


June 24, 2020


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Photosynthesis varies greatly across rice cultivars, diversity could boost yields

March 10, 2020

Rice is a direct source of calories for more people than any other crop and serves as the main staple for 560 million chronically hungry people in Asia. With over 120,000 varieties of cultivated rice (Oryza sativa) across the globe, there is a wealth of natural diversity to be mined by plant scientists to increase yields.


March 10, 2020


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Improved model better predicts crop yield, climate change effects

July 15, 2019

A new computer model incorporates how microscopic pores on leaves may open in response to light—an advance that could help scientists create virtual plants to predict how higher temperatures and rising levels of carbon dioxide will affect food crops, according to a study published in a special issue of the journal Photosynthesis Research today.


July 15, 2019


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