Mesophyll conductance is the process of carbon dioxide entering and moving through the leaf to the enzyme, Rubisco, that converts the molecule into sugars that fuel the plant. To get from the atmosphere into the chloroplast, carbon dioxide diffuses into the leaf through the stomata, which are the pores that open and close to allow the intake of carbon dioxide. After the carbon dioxide diffuses into the leaf, it has to travel across internal airspace, cell walls, plasmalemma, cytoplasm, chloroplast envelope, and part of the chloroplast stroma before it can be fixed by Rubisco. By manipulating certain components in this pathway, the RIPE project aims to improve carbon dioxide availability for the enzyme, thereby increasing the efficiency of photosynthesis.
A team from the Australian National University (ANU) investigated the effects of increasing the amount of carbon dioxide channels in plant membranes.