• Kate Ayers

Modified metabolism helps plants absorb more CO2

Scientists are striving to increase food production while reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels.

Modifying plant metabolisms could be the ticket to reach these goals, a January release from Germany’s University of Würzburg said.

A research team found that its modulated plant metabolism network results in plants that can absorb five times more CO2 than plants with normal metabolic pathways, the release said. The scientists’ findings are based on computer models and complex calculations.

These plants could also produce higher amounts of biomass, which could lead to higher yields.

These modifications still need to be tested in field conditions, but this research provides a solid foundation for future studies.

We will experiment with tobacco plants and thale cress … which are both easy to modify,” Muhammad Naseem, a research scientist at the University of Würzburg and an assistant professor at Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates, said in the release. Thale cress is a small flowering plant, often considered a weed, native to Eurasia and Africa.

The study is published in the January edition of the journal Trends in Biotechnology.

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