, 251:24 | Cite as

Biotechnological strategies for improved photosynthesis in a future of elevated atmospheric CO2

  • Stacy D. SingerEmail author
  • Raju Y. Soolanayakanahally
  • Nora A. Foroud
  • Roland Kroebel


Main conclusion

The improvement of photosynthesis using biotechnological approaches has been the focus of much research. It is now vital that these strategies be assessed under future atmospheric conditions.


The demand for crop products is expanding at an alarming rate due to population growth, enhanced affluence, increased per capita calorie consumption, and an escalating need for plant-based bioproducts. While solving this issue will undoubtedly involve a multifaceted approach, improving crop productivity will almost certainly provide one piece of the puzzle. The improvement of photosynthetic efficiency has been a long-standing goal of plant biotechnologists as possibly one of the last remaining means of achieving higher yielding crops. However, the vast majority of these studies have not taken into consideration possible outcomes when these plants are grown long-term under the elevated CO2 concentrations (e[CO2]) that will be evident in the not too distant future. Due to the considerable effect that CO2 levels have on the photosynthetic process, these assessments should become commonplace as a means of ensuring that research in this field focuses on the most effective approaches for our future climate scenarios. In this review, we discuss the main biotechnological research strategies that are currently underway with the aim of improving photosynthetic efficiency and biomass production/yields in the context of a future of e[CO2], as well as alternative approaches that may provide further photosynthetic benefits under these conditions.


Biotechnology Climate change Yield Root growth Sink strength Nitrogen assimilation 



The authors are grateful for the support provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Crown 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stacy D. Singer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Raju Y. Soolanayakanahally
    • 2
  • Nora A. Foroud
    • 1
  • Roland Kroebel
    • 1
  1. 1.Lethbridge Research and Development CentreAgriculture and Agri-Food CanadaLethbridgeCanada
  2. 2.Saskatoon Research and Development CentreAgriculture and Agri-Food CanadaSaskatoonCanada

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