Licors Rice Screenhouse IRRI

Flag leaves could help top off photosynthetic performance in rice

A team from the University of Illinois and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) found that some flag leaves of different varieties of rice transform light and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates better than others, potentially opening new opportunities for breeding higher yielding rice varieties.

Bernacchi, Fu, Meacham

Light signal emitted during photosynthesis used to quickly screen crops

University of Illinois researchers have revealed a new approach to estimate the photosynthetic capacity of crops to pinpoint their top-performing traits and speed up the plant screening process, according to a new study in the Journal of Experimental Botany

2020 RIPE Highly Cited Researchers

Photosynthesis researchers rank among 2020’s most influential scientists

Four RIPE researchers were among 6,167 researchers recognized by Clarivate as Highly Cited Researchers this year.

Cassava field trials

Cassava may benefit from atmospheric change more than other crops

A new study sheds light on how cassava will adapt to future levels of carbon dioxide: yields increase without diminishing nutritional quality.

RIPE Research Greenhouse

The 'Enlightened' Future of Food

RIPE has established a modern plant phenotyping facility, set in a 9,000 square foot greenhouse to research sustainable ways to increase crop yields.

By: Heliospectra

Picture of bundle sheath cells

During COVID, scientists use computers to understand C4 photosynthesis when labs shut down

A team used computational approaches to understand how C4 crops express key enzymes in bundle sheath cells.

Cowpea rows

Scientists further cowpea research—boosting canopy CO2 assimilation, water-use efficiency

RIPE has analyzed how much variation exists within cowpea lines in light absorption and CO2 assimilation throughout the canopy.

Three scientists hold plants that are unmodified, have one modification, and that have two modifications.

Third breakthrough demonstrates photosynthetic hacks can boost yield, conserve water

RIPE has resolved two major photosynthetic bottlenecks to boost plant productivity by 27 percent in real-world field conditions.

2018 Illinois Summer Fellows with Charles Pignon

Undergrad-led study suggests light environment modifications could maximize productivity

A new study looks into the cause of a maladaptation in C4 crops and found that altered light conditions, not leaf age, were their Achilles’ Heel. 

Three researchers pose next to wheat in a glasshouse.

Scientists take a step closer to heat-tolerant wheat

Researchers found out how to trigger photosynthesis more efficiently at higher temperatures in wheat.

Lisa Ainsworth

Lisa Ainsworth of USDA-ARS elected to the National Academy of Sciences

RIPE research leader Lisa Ainsworth has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences—one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive. 

Research team stands by picture of hyperspectral data.

Technology to screen for higher-yielding crop traits is now more accessible to scientists

To drive progress toward higher-yielding crops, our team is revolutionizing the ability to screen research plots for key traits.

Image shows phenotypic differences in 8 rice varieties.

Photosynthesis varies greatly across rice cultivars—natural diversity could boost yields

Our team found a 117% difference between how rice plants harness fluctuating light to fix carbon dioxide into food, suggesting a new trait for selection.

An illustration of Liana Acevedo-Siaca

Meet some of RIPE's wonder women

In celebration of International Women's Day, the RIPE project is shining a spotlight on some of our female scientists.

Yu Wang and Steve Long sit on desk next to a computer displaying their model.

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. 

Provost, Stephen Long, Associate Dean Ando, Dean Kidwell pose together

Stephen Long invested as the Stanley O. Ikenberry Chair Professor of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences

Stephen Long has been invested as the Stanley O. Ikenberry Chair Professor of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences, one of the most distinguished honors at Illinois.