Photosynthesis is a fundamental process in the global carbon cycle that sustains our every day’s food and energy supply.
Although photosynthesis has evolved over billions of years, it is still not perfect. Plants and other photosynthetic organisms still waste 30% of their photosynthetic energy due to inefficient carbon assimilation, which strongly limits their growth.
An improved photosynthesis would be of immediate benefit. Today, already one in seven people is malnourished. This situation is expected to worsen as human population keeps increasing at a staggering rate. Feeding 10-15 billion people at the year 2100 is a tremendously challenging task that will only be met by the implementation of new measures to increase agricultural productivity.
A fundamental new way to improve plant productivity and performance is the engineering of highly efficient carbon assimilation routes with synthetic biology. Rather than reshuffling and grafting existing natural components, modern metabolic and enzyme engineering techniques enable us to design completely novel pathways for an improved carbon assimilation that were not explored by Nature.
When combined in an interdisciplinary approach that spans computational biology, biochemistry, enzymology, metabolic engineering, and plant physiology, such efforts have a real chance to fundamentally transform carbon fixation and enhance plant productivity.
At the Workshop Designing Photosynthesis 2.0, leading scientists from the fields of enzyme engineering, metabolic retrosynthesis, cyanobacteria physiology and plant genetics will come together to discuss the limits of natural photosynthesis and devise a roadmap towards a synthetically enhanced photosynthesis.
The participation is free, but registration is required. Please register here.
Tobias J. Erb