ubstantial agricultural gains would be possible if the oxygenation reaction of RuBisCO were bypassed, but attempts at its manipulation have yet to see a step change in C3 photosynthetic yield and efforts to manipulate C4 photosynthesis in C3 crops is also proving a challenge.
We are exploring an entirely novel set of strategies to address this problem, co-opting light-driven pumps, anion exchange transport and substrate channelling to develop a ‘two-stage pump’ for carbon concentration in C3 plants. To date none of these processes has been employed in photosynthesis research, although all three occur naturally
and have been adapted for synthetic solutions, for example in so-called optogenetics. A strategy using light to power directly the delivery of CO2 has the added potential of tapping the unused asset of light outside the photosynthetic spectrum. It is our goal to realise this strategy.