Modeling Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis—the 170-step natural process in which plants use sunlight and carbon dioxide to grow—is one of the most basic, yet incredibly complex, processes in biology. It is also inefficient. Approximately only 5 percent of the energy from sunlight is converted into plant growth and even less into the parts of the plants that we eat. Scientists speculate that photosynthesis could be transformed if they could find which steps out of the total 170 can be tweaked and modified to make the process more efficient. With the rapid increase in technological advancements, computers can simulate photosynthesis in a real-life environment. These simulations provide a realistic representation of the entire process and can show what happens to plants if variables were to be manipulated, such as light energy distribution by altering the angle of leaves, adding additional cellular machinery, or changes in climate. By using mathematical equations in the computer system, it is possible to see which potential combinations of changes in photosynthesis would lead to the most crop growth and highest yields.

 

Simulation of cassava growing
RIPE simulation of cassava growth. Created by Yu Wang.

 


Anthony Digrado
Peng Fu
Bethany Holland
Deepak Jaiswal headshot
Pouyan Khakbaz
Edward Lochocki
Steve Long
Megan Matthews
Justin McGrath
Qu
Balaji Selvam
Diwakar
Qingfeng Song
Yu Wang
Yi Xiao
Honglong Zhao
Xinguang Zhu
Yu Wang and Steve Long

Study shines light on full potential of soybeans

Komorebi is a Japanese word that describes how light filters through leaves — creating shifting, dappled “sunflecks” that illustrate plants’ ever-changing light environment. Crops harness light energy to fix carbon dioxide into food via photosynthesis.

By: AgriNews Publications

Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) is an international research project that is engineering crops to be more productive by improving photosynthesis.

Green Genes: Agronomists are engineering DNA to save some foods from extinction

Climate change feels like an unprecedented global challenge. But the truth is, humanity has been here before — approximately 11,000 years ago. That’s when the last Ice Age ended.

By: Matt Alderton || USA Today

Sorghum leaf illuminated by the sun.

Soybeans and other crops are hurting for light, but this research fights shadows

Scientists at RIPE have developed a new mathematical computer model to understand and measure how much soybean yield is lost due to light fluctuations on cloudy versus sunny days. 

By: Jeff Kart || Forbes

Light signal emitted during photosynthesis used to quickly screen crops

Illinois researchers reveal a new approach to estimating the photosynthetic capacity of crops to pinpoint their top-performing traits and speed up the process.

Boost soybean yields by adapting photosynthesis to fleeting shadows, according to model

Soybeans may lose 13 percent of their productivity grappling with changes in light. 

Scientists find ways to improve cassava, a ‘crop of inequality’ featured at Goalkeepers

A new study has identified opportunities to increase the yields of the staple root crop cassava.