Review: Perspectives on improving light distribution and light use efficiency in crop canopies (Plant Physiol)

Light comes largely from above, and plants have evolved strategies to efficiently capture this light even when competing with other potentially shading plants. However, at a field-level, such competition may (and does) prevent plants from collectively maximizing light use efficiency, hence yield. In this comprehensive review, Slatterly and Ott provide an overview of years of study into how light use efficiency could be optimized in crop plants. These strategies include alterations in plant architecture and leaf size/position, as well as changing photosynthetic pigment properties (e.g., red-shifting), to allow more light to reach into lower canopy layers. (Summary by Mary Williams @PlantTeaching) Plant Physiol 10.1093/plphys/kiaa006.  Don’t miss the excellent accompanying profile “Agriculture futurist: Don Ort” written by Assistant Features Editor Meisha Holloway-Phillips.  Plant Physiol. 10.1093/plphys/kiaa024