Review: Improving crop yield and resilience through photosynthesis optimisation: panacea or pipe dream? (J. Exp. Bot.)

Has crop photosynthesis research been successful for increasing yields? This very crucial question is analyzed in a new review by Araus et al. The authors report that there has been no increase that can be described as a “quantum leap,” but they discuss the merits of increasing leaf photosynthesis and the possibility of translating these increases into crop yield. The practical applications of leaf photosynthesis manipulation have been translated so far to only 10 – 15 percent increases in yield.  The importance of research on canopy photosynthesis of laminar and non laminar organs is stressed as a possible solution to increase photosynthesis. Source-sink relationships, source capacity, sink strength and partitioning of assimilates are crucial considerations, and the importance of a multiscale, diverse strategy with additive effects is stressed. The authors point out that amassing small incremental changes and integration of these changes to bring about modification at canopy, organ and phenological levels is the key in bringing about increases in crop yields. (Summary by Arun Shanker @arunshanker) J. Exp. Bot. 10.1093/jxb/erab097