Entries by Peter Minorsky

Leaf Photosynthesis and Biomass Accumulation

Improving photosynthetic efficiency is a major target for increasing crop biomass production and yield potential. The canopy photosynthetic efficiency, which is determined by leaf area index, canopy architecture, and leaf photosynthetic properties, plays an important role in determining biomass accumulation. Perhaps because there has been an overemphasis on the photosynthetic properties of leaves rather than […]

A Regulator of Calcium Signatures Revealed

Calcium (Ca2+) is an important cellular second messenger for diverse developmental processes and environmental responses in both plants and animals. Transient increases in cytosolic Ca2+ are activated in plants during a host of environmental and developmental processes, including root growth, stomatal movement, pollen growth, abiotic stress responses, and plant-microbe interactions. The secret as to how […]

Transporter Function and N Use Efficiency

Nitrogen (N) is an essential nutrient that plants require in large amounts for growth and development. In industrial countries, high N fertilization enables maximum crop yields, and in the last 50 years, the use of synthetic N fertilizers has increased dramatically to meet food demands. Improving the efficiency of N uptake and utilization in plants […]

Venation, Water Transport and Photosynthetic Rate

Land plants lose vast quantities of water to the atmosphere during photosynthetic gas exchange. To supply this high demand for water an internal transport system comprised of xylem conduits irrigates the leaf. Selection for greater rates of photosynthesis and increased productivity is believed to have been the primary driver behind the >10 fold increase in […]

Efficient Plastid Transformation in Arabidopsis

The plastid genome of higher plants encodes about 100 genes, the products of which assemble with approximately 3,000 nucleus-encoded proteins to form the plastid transcription and translation machinery and carry out complex metabolic functions, including photosynthesis and fatty acid and amino acid biosynthesis. Plastid transformation is routine only in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum), although reproducible protocols […]

Enhancing Electron Transport Leads to Improved Yields

Increasing photosynthetic capacity appears to be a viable route towards increasing crop yields. An endogenous target identified for manipulation toward this goal is the cytochrome b6f (cyt b6f) complex that is located in the thylakoid membrane and which functions in both linear and cyclic electron transport, providing ATP and NADPH for photosynthetic carbon fixation. Studies […]

Auxin Biosynthesis and Wheat Yield

In plants, there are two biosynthetic pathways for the production of the plant hormone indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), namely the Trp-dependent and the Trp-independent pathways. Shao et al. (10.1104/pp.17.00094) have performed a genome-wide analysis to identify a key gene in wheat that functions in the tryptophan-dependent pathway of IAA biosynthesis, namely Tryptophan Aminotransferase of Arabidopsis1/Tryptophan Aminotransferase-Related […]

A MicroRNA Switch that Controls Lateral Root Growth and Nodulation

Legume roots form two types of organs, lateral roots and symbiotic nodules, which participate, respectively, in the uptake of water and mineral nutrients and in nitrogen fixation. Since both organs have considerable impacts on plant growth, understanding the mechanisms underlying the development of lateral roots and nodules is crucial to improve agronomical traits in legumes. […]

How Wheat Root Tips Break Through Tough Soil

Soils exhibiting high mechanical impedance as a result of soil compaction or drying, limit root elongation and adversely affect soil exploration and resource uptake. When soil mechanical impedance is increased, root elongation rate decreases within hours and may entirely cease, leading to significant yield losses. Root thickening is one of the most common responses of […]