Manipulating photorespiration to increase plant productivity: recent advances and perspectives for crop improvement

J Exp Bot. 2016 May;67(10):2977-88. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erw076. Epub 2016 Mar 7.


Recycling of the 2-phosphoglycolate generated by the oxygenase reaction of Rubisco requires a complex and energy-consuming set of reactions collectively known as the photorespiratory cycle. Several approaches aimed at reducing the rates of photorespiratory energy or carbon loss have been proposed, based either on screening for natural variation or by means of genetic engineering. Recent work indicates that plant yield can be substantially improved by the alteration of photorespiratory fluxes or by engineering artificial bypasses to photorespiration. However, there is also evidence indicating that, under certain environmental and/or nutritional conditions, reduced photorespiratory capacity may be detrimental to plant performance. Here we summarize recent advances obtained in photorespiratory engineering and discuss prospects for these advances to be transferred to major crops to help address the globally increasing demand for food and biomass production.

Keywords: Crops; Rubisco; food production; genetic engineering; photorespiration; yield improvement..

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism
  • Crop Production / methods*
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*
  • Photosynthesis / genetics*
  • Photosynthesis / physiology
  • Plant Development / genetics
  • Plants / genetics


  • Carbon Dioxide