A protein that protects plants from damage caused by too much light energy has been found by a team of researchers led by Kris Niyogi, faculty scientist in the Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging Division. Alizée Malnoë, a postdoctoral researcher in Niyogi’s group, is the lead author on the study published in the journal The Plant Cell. Plants with deficient levels of the lipocalin protein are less able to dissipate excess light energy. Scientists will explore how this energy dissipation process is turned on and off, and whether manipulation of light usage could lead to higher crop yields. Read more in the Berkeley Lab News Center.
Excess light energy that a plant can’t absorb needs to be dissipated to avoid damage and oxidative stress. Krishna Niyogi, a faculty scientist in Molecular Biophysics and Integrative Bioimaging and a UC Berkeley professor of plant and microbial biology, led the study that included researchers from Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and Colorado State University at Fort Collins. The scientists are studying ways to increase the amount of light that can be safely absorbed, potentially leading to more efficient photosynthesis and higher crop productivity. Read the Berkeley Lab Science Short.