Environment Common grass could help boost food security

Common grass could help boost food security

Australian researchers have discovered that a common grass species could hold the secret to increasing the yields of cereal crops as temperatures increase.

Known as Panic grasses, they contain an enzyme that captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere more efficiently than other plants in extreme climates.

“We are aiming to enhance the growth and yield of crops such as wheat and rice by transplanting this more efficient enzyme into them,” said lead researcher Dr Robert Sharwood from ANU.

The research was conducted by members of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis, the ANU Research School of Biology and Western Sydney University’s Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment.

The centre aims to discover how to use the world’s plant diversity to secure important food crops in a changing world.

The team has identified enzymes that are best-suited to crops growing under extreme temperature conditions. The discovery is a significant development in the quest to use the natural genetic diversity of grasses to increase crop yields.

The new discovery could help feed a world with extreme climate conditions and a growing population of nearly 10 billion people by 2050.

To find out more about this study, click here. Story credit: ANU newsroom.

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