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Transgenic approaches to improve photosynthesis and nitrogen use in wheat

Alotaibi, Saqer (2016) Transgenic approaches to improve photosynthesis and nitrogen use in wheat. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

To meet the rapid growth of the global population and the expected demand for food, significant enhancements in yields are needed, together with optimised N fertilisation and environmental issues, particularly in the production of major grain crops, such as wheat and rice. Improving photosynthesis, together with NUE, has been considered an unexploited opportunity in the research on improving crop yields. Therefore, transgenic wheat plants with increased SBPase activity showed an improved photosynthetic leaf rate and total biomass production. The Rubisco protein is a major N investment in crops, but it has also been exhibited that under some environmental conditions, there may be an excess of Rubisco greater than that needed to maintain photosynthesis. This raises the question of whether a small reduction in the amount of the Rubisco enzyme can be used to improve NUE without any negative effects on plant yield. To address the question, wheat plants with decreased Rubisco were produced. Physiological studies were performed on five independent transgenic lines with different levels of Rubisco, and the photosynthetic rates, biomass and grain yields were determined. Rubisco RNAi lines with reductions in the Rubisco protein of more than 40% showed a significant decrease in photosynthesis, growth and grain yield. Interestingly, the plants with the lowest level of Rubisco activity had significantly higher levels of leaf and seed N when compared to WT plants. In contrast, small reductions in the Rubisco protein of between about 10% and 25% did not have an adverse effect on photosynthesis, growth or grain yield in two independent transgenic wheat lines. Furthermore, to search for new promoters to drive good transgene expressions specialised to wheat leaves, two Brachypodium promoters, SBPase and FBPA, were cloned upstream of the GUS fusion gene and transformed into wheat leaves. Consequently, both promoters resulted in detectable GUS expression in wheat leaves at different growth stages and did not show expressions in the roots.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Biological Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Saqer Alotaibi
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2016 14:59
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2016 14:59
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/18258

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