Relaxing Photoprotection

Although light is necessary for photosynthesis, damage can occur when leaves are exposed to high light intensity. To avoid this, plants have developed several photo-protective mechanisms. Non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) is one of those mechanisms, which allows excessive absorbed irradiance to be dissipated as heat. NPQ turns on rapidly at high light intensity, however it turns off more slowly upon a return to limiting irradiance. As a result, the quantum yield of photosynthesis is temporarily reduced, while NPQ adjusts to the lower light intensity. The RIPE project tries to speed up the relaxation of NPQ after a transition from high to low light intensity, thereby allowing a faster recovery of photosynthetic quantum yield.

Obstacles to implementation: This is a medium risk, because one manipulation has already been found to speed the conversion of zeaxanthin to violaxanthin.