A cross-scale analysis to understand and quantify the effects of photosynthetic enhancement on crop growth and yield across environments

Wu, Alex, Brider, Jason, Busch, Florian A., Chen, Min, Chenu, Karine, Clarke, Victoria C., Collins, Brian, Ermakova, Maria, Evans, John R., Farquhar, Graham D., Forster, Britta, Furbank, Robert T., Groszmann, Michael, Hernandez-Prieto, Miguel A., Long, Benedict M., Mclean, Greg, Potgieter, Andries, Price, G. Dean, Sharwood, Robert E., Stower, Michael, van Oosterom, Erik, von Caemmerer, Susanne, Whitney, Spencer M., and Hammer, Graeme L. (2022) A cross-scale analysis to understand and quantify the effects of photosynthetic enhancement on crop growth and yield across environments. Plant, Cell & Environment, 46 (1). pp. 23-44.

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Photosynthetic manipulation provides new opportunities for enhancing crop yield. However, understanding and quantifying the importance of individual and multiple manipulations on the seasonal biomass growth and yield performance of target crops across variable production environments is limited. Using a state-of-the-art cross-scale model in the APSIM platform we predicted the impact of altering photosynthesis on the enzyme-limited (Ac) and electron transport-limited (Aj) rates, seasonal dynamics in canopy photosynthesis, biomass growth, and yield formation via large multiyear-by-location crop growth simulations. A broad list of promising strategies to improve photosynthesis for C3 wheat and C4 sorghum were simulated. In the top decile of seasonal outcomes, yield gains were predicted to be modest, ranging between 0% and 8%, depending on the manipulation and crop type. We report how photosynthetic enhancement can affect the timing and severity of water and nitrogen stress on the growing crop, resulting in nonintuitive seasonal crop dynamics and yield outcomes. We predicted that strategies enhancing Ac alone generate more consistent but smaller yield gains across all water and nitrogen environments, Aj enhancement alone generates larger gains but is undesirable in more marginal environments. Large increases in both Ac and Aj generate the highest gains across all environments. Yield outcomes of the tested manipulation strategies were predicted and compared for realistic Australian wheat and sorghum production. This study uniquely unpacks complex cross-scale interactions between photosynthesis and seasonal crop dynamics and improves understanding and quantification of the potential impact of photosynthesis traits (or lack of it) for crop improvement research.

Item ID: 76692
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-3040
Keywords: APSIM, crop growth modelling, crop production, cross-scale model, electron transport-limited photosynthesis, enzyme-limited photosynthesis, yield improvement
Copyright Information: © 2022 The Authors. Plant, Cell & Environment published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC CE1401000015, ARC DE210100854
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2022 09:05
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3004 Crop and pasture production > 300404 Crop and pasture biochemistry and physiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 26 PLANT PRODUCTION AND PLANT PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 2699 Other plant production and plant primary products > 269999 Other plant production and plant primary products not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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