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      The impact of a changing atmosphere on chloroplast function, photosynthesis, yield, and food security

      Essays In Biochemistry

      Portland Press Ltd.

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          A biochemical model of photosynthetic CO2 assimilation in leaves of C 3 species.

          Various aspects of the biochemistry of photosynthetic carbon assimilation in C3 plants are integrated into a form compatible with studies of gas exchange in leaves. These aspects include the kinetic properties of ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase; the requirements of the photosynthetic carbon reduction and photorespiratory carbon oxidation cycles for reduced pyridine nucleotides; the dependence of electron transport on photon flux and the presence of a temperature dependent upper limit to electron transport. The measurements of gas exchange with which the model outputs may be compared include those of the temperature and partial pressure of CO2(p(CO2)) dependencies of quantum yield, the variation of compensation point with temperature and partial pressure of O2(p(O2)), the dependence of net CO2 assimilation rate on p(CO2) and irradiance, and the influence of p(CO2) and irradiance on the temperature dependence of assimilation rate.
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            Yield Trends Are Insufficient to Double Global Crop Production by 2050

            Several studies have shown that global crop production needs to double by 2050 to meet the projected demands from rising population, diet shifts, and increasing biofuels consumption. Boosting crop yields to meet these rising demands, rather than clearing more land for agriculture has been highlighted as a preferred solution to meet this goal. However, we first need to understand how crop yields are changing globally, and whether we are on track to double production by 2050. Using ∼2.5 million agricultural statistics, collected for ∼13,500 political units across the world, we track four key global crops—maize, rice, wheat, and soybean—that currently produce nearly two-thirds of global agricultural calories. We find that yields in these top four crops are increasing at 1.6%, 1.0%, 0.9%, and 1.3% per year, non-compounding rates, respectively, which is less than the 2.4% per year rate required to double global production by 2050. At these rates global production in these crops would increase by ∼67%, ∼42%, ∼38%, and ∼55%, respectively, which is far below what is needed to meet projected demands in 2050. We present detailed maps to identify where rates must be increased to boost crop production and meet rising demands.
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              Food for thought: lower-than-expected crop yield stimulation with rising CO2 concentrations.

              Model projections suggest that although increased temperature and decreased soil moisture will act to reduce global crop yields by 2050, the direct fertilization effect of rising carbon dioxide concentration ([CO2]) will offset these losses. The CO2 fertilization factors used in models to project future yields were derived from enclosure studies conducted approximately 20 years ago. Free-air concentration enrichment (FACE) technology has now facilitated large-scale trials of the major grain crops at elevated [CO2] under fully open-air field conditions. In those trials, elevated [CO2] enhanced yield by approximately 50% less than in enclosure studies. This casts serious doubt on projections that rising [CO2] will fully offset losses due to climate change.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Essays In Biochemistry
                Essays Biochem.
                Portland Press Ltd.
                0071-1365
                1744-1358
                April 13 2018
                April 13 2018
                April 13 2018
                April 13 2018
                : 62
                : 1
                : 1-11
                Article
                10.1042/EBC20180023
                © 2018

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