Research

Frances Collins

Elucidating the role of carbon dioxide in the photosynthetic enzyme Ribulose-1, 5-Bisphosphate Carboxylase/ Oxygenase: Towards enhancing photosynthesis

Frances Collins - 2nd year PhD

Abstract

Global food security is increasingly threatened by the rapidly expanding world population and progressively limited cultivatable land due to; urbanisation, soil degradation and climate change. Photosynthetic improvements are thought to be essential for making future improvements to crop yields. One approach is to increase the local concentration of CO2 around Rubisco's active site, which would limit the competing and wasteful reaction that can occur with Oxygen. This is believed to be a potential route for improving crop yields. This project could elucidate a potential group of agrochemicals that would improve the rate of photosynthesis and consequently the crop yield per area. In-vitro cultures can act as a first approximation to the behaviour of plant cell tissue under certain conditions. My research project is investigating the effect of carbonic anhydrase mimics at increasing the activity of the photosynthetic enzyme rubisco, as this enzyme is one of the major causes of photosynthetic inefficiency in plants.