Type: Book

Understanding and improving crop photosynthesis


Dr Robert Sharwood is Senior Lecturer and Vice Chancellor’s Fellow in the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment and the School of Science at Western Sydney University, Australia. He was formerly an ARC DECRA Fellow at the Australian National University. Dr Sharwood is internationally known for his research on understanding and improving photosynthetic biochemistry in plants to produce more resilient crops in the face of climate change.



Publication date:

10 January 2023

Length of book:

304 pages

ISBN-13: 9781801461290

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It is widely recognised that photosynthesis in many important crops is well below its theoretical potential. With crop yields and stability under threat from the impact of climate change, there is now an urgent need to synthesise existing research on best practices for improving C3 photosynthesis in crops to optimise sustainable crop production and yields.

Understanding and improving crop photosynthesis reviews the wealth of current research that addresses this challenge. The book explores our understanding of the general components of C3 photosynthesis, including its biochemistry, as well as the recent advances in techniques for improving photosynthesis, focussing primarily on light harvesting and optimising chloroplast function/light conversion.

Through providing its readers with a comprehensive exploration of crop photosynthesis, the book showcases how farmers can utilise their understanding of the science behind this key process to optimise their yields and achieve successful crop production.

Key features

  • Provides a comprehensive review of the wealth of research which addresses how to sustainably achieve higher yields through improving the rate of C₃ photosynthesis in crops 
  • Assesses current practices implemented to optimise photosynthesis in crops, including the modification of crop elements such as leaf/canopy architecture 
  • Explores our understanding of the biophysics, biochemistry and genetics of C₃ photosynthesis in crops and how this can be used to improve photosynthesis in C4 and C₃ crops

Sample content

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What others are saying...

“Improving photosynthesis has become a goal for plant physiologists, and a great deal of interest has been generated recently in achieving this goal through deliberate efforts in various sub-disciplines. Dr Robert Sharwood has drawn together experts in those and other promising areas. The resulting collection is a ‘must-have’ for those wishing to integrate current advances into agronomy and crop breeding, as well as for ambitious plant scientists with novel ideas that are yet to be tested.”(Distinguished Professor Graham Farquhar, Australian National University, Australia and Winner of the 2017 Kyoto Prize for Basic Sciences)

“With the plateau in yield progress of our major food crops driving a search for new breeding approaches, photosynthesis has become a major target for improving yields. This book brings together knowledge from some of the world’s leading researchers in photosynthetic improvement and provides a valuable resource for students, researchers and crop breeders.” (Professor Bob Furbank, Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis and ARC Centre for Future Crops Development, Australia)

Table of contents

Part 1 General
1.Understanding the biochemistry of C₃ photosynthesis in crop plants: C. A. Raines, A. P. Cavanagh, C. Afamefule, K. Chibani, H. Gherli, P. Lopez, V. Mengin, B. Moreno-García and S. Wall, The University of Essex, UK;
2.Understanding the genetics of C₃ photosynthesis in crop plants: P. Carvalho, G. Elias da Silva and N. J. M. Saibo, Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica António Xavier da Universidade Nova de Lisboa (ITQB NOVA), Portugal;

Part 2 Improving photosynthesis: light harvesting
3.Interactions between photosynthesis and the circadian system: Marina Viana Queiroz, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil; and Martin William Battle and Matthew Alan Jones, University of Glasgow, UK;
4.Modifying photosystem antennas to improve light harvesting for photosynthesis in crops: Min Chen, The University of Sydney, Australia; and Robert E. Blankenship, Washington University in St Louis, USA;
5.Relaxing non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) to improve photosynthesis in crops: Johannes Kromdijk, University of Cambridge, UK and Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA; and Julia Walter, University of Cambridge, UK;
6.Modifying mesophyll conductance to optimise photosynthesis in crops: Coralie E. Salesse-Smith, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA; Steven M. Driever, Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands; and Victoria C. Clarke, The Australian National University, Australia;
7.Modifying canopy architecture to optimize photosynthesis in crops: Anthony Digrado and Elizabeth A. Ainsworth, Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit, USDA-ARS and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA;

Part 3 Improving photosynthesis: optimising chloroplast function/light conversion
8.Modifying photorespiration to optimize crop performance: Xinyu Fu, Kaila Smith, Luke Gregory, Ludmila Roze and Berkley Walker, Michigan State University, USA;
9.Maximizing the efficiency of ribulose bisphosphate (RuBP) regeneration to optimize photosynthesis in crops: Thomas D. Sharkey, MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory, Michigan State University, USA;
10.Improving proteins to optimize photosynthesis: James V. Moroney, Ashwani K. Rai, Hiruni Weerasooriya and Remmy Kasili, Louisiana State University, USA; and Marylou Machingura, Georgia Southern University, USA;