Improving photosynthetic efficiency toward food security: Strategies, advances, and perspectives

Edward N Smith, Marvin van Aalst, Tiina Tosens, Ülo Niinemets, Benjamin Stich, Tomas Morosinotto, Alessandro Alboresi, Tobias Erb, Paul A Gómez-Coronado, Dimitri Tolleter, Giovanni Finazzi, Gilles Curien, Matthias Heinemann, Oliver Ebenhöh, Julian M Hibberd, Urte Schlüter, Tianshu Sun, Andreas P M Weber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


Photosynthesis in both crops and natural vegetation allows light energy to be converted into chemical energy, and thus forms the foundation for almost all terrestrial trophic networks on Earth. The efficiency of photosynthetic energy conversion plays a crucial role in determining the portion of incident solar radiation that can be used to generate plant biomass throughout a growth season. Consequently, alongside factors such as resource availability, crop management, crop selection, maintenance costs, and intrinsic yield potential, photosynthetic energy use efficiency significantly influences crop yield. Photosynthetic efficiency is relevant to sustainability and food security because it impacts water-use efficiency, nutrient-use efficiency, and land-use efficiency. This review focuses specifically on the potential for improvements in photosynthetic efficiency to drive a sustainable increase in crop yields. We will discuss bypassing photorespiration, enhancing light use efficiency, harnessing natural variation in photosynthetic parameters for breeding purposes, and adopting new-to-nature approaches that show promise for achieving unprecedented gains in photosynthetic efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1547-1563
Number of pages45
JournalMolecular Plant
Issue number10
Early online date1-Sept-2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2023


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