Recent Posts

Stop the Clock: Optimized Carbon Fixation and Circadian Rhythm in a CAM Plant

The energetically costly tendency of the carbon fixing enzyme RuBisCO to, every now and then, fix oxygen instead of carbon dioxide has led to the evolution of various carbon concentrating mechanisms in plants and algae. One such mechanism, Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM), involves primary CO2 fixation…

Imaging of Light Absorption and Photosynthesis

Due to its ease of use and noninvasive nature, variable chlorophyll fluorescence techniques have become increasingly popular for estimating photosynthetic parameters. Most measurements of variable chlorophyll fluorescence in complex plant tissues and surface-associated cell assemblages (e.g. biofilms)…

A pair of papers that redefines the pyrenoid, the eukaryotic CO2-concentrating organelle

Photosynthesis in aquatic organisms is made difficult due to the low solubility of CO2 in water. Algae such as Chlamydomonas rheinhardtii overcome this limitation through a carbon-concentrating organelle called a pyrenoid. Two papers in Cell redefine our understanding of the pyrenoid structure. Mackinder…

Variable mesophyll conductance among soybean cultivars sets a tradeoff between photosynthesis and water-use-efficiency

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Boosting photosynthetic efficiency in crop species has long been a goal since efficiency of photosynthesis is a critical factor in crop yield. One strategy for improving photosynthetic rates is enhancing mesophyll conductance to carbon dioxide. Tomeo and  Rosenthal examined 12 cultivars of soybean (Glycine…

From Light to Food – Organization of Photosynthetic Complexes

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MacGregor-Chatwin et al. map the cellular organization of photosynthetic protein complexes http://www.plantcell.org/content/29/5/1119 Life on Earth depends on photosynthesis, the source of all of our food, oxygen, and most of our energy. Two pigment-protein complexes called Photosystems I and II…

BASS Fishing: Genetic Screen Uncovers a New Transporter in Photorespiration

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South et al. discover a new transporter involved in photorespiration http://www.plantcell.org/content/29/4/808.abstract. Photosynthesis uses solar energy to convert carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into sugars that provide the energy and chemical building blocks for plant growth. A key enzyme in photosynthesis…