Program 1 main goal is to discover ways of minimising CO2 limitation of photosynthesis in plants. Our plan is to overcome these limitations through directed genetic manipulation and selection of crop plants.

The processes which allow atmospheric CO2 to be captured and converted into sugars within the chloroplast have significant limitations associated with their function.

These are mainly related to the biochemical limitations of the primary CO2-fixing enzyme Rubisco. Evolution has reduced these limitations by three main ways: improving the inefficient CO2 fixing enzyme Rubisco; improving the diffusion of CO2; and implementing mechanisms for the concentration of CO2 around the active site of Rubisco.

Research areas in this Program include:

  • discovering how to produce better Rubisco enzymes and transplant them into the chloroplasts of crop plants
  • developing pathways to implement algal and cyanobacterial bicarbonate transporter-based CO2 concentrating mechanisms in plant chloroplasts
  • understanding CO2 diffusion pathways in leaves with an aim to developing strategies to minimise this limitation.