Combining approaches for photosynthetic improvement to allow increased sustainability in European agriculture

Photosynthesis is the engine of plant productivity. It is a remarkable process that uses absorbed light-energy to transform carbon dioxide from the air into carbohydrates, the basic building blocks of biomass.

Our project aims to translate major advances in photosynthetic improvement from model plant species into three important crop species (Barley, Maize and Tomato). CAPITALISE has identified key physiological responses or properties that are promising candidate strategies to improve photosynthesis to meet EU crop breeding needs for increased yields. 


To reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a warming world industry needs to use more sustainable, bioeconomy utilizing crop based materials. Global crop yields are only increasing by about 1% per annum and this is not sufficient to meet the projected demand in 2050. A second Green Revolution in agriculture is urgently needed to deliver climate-smart food systems. New crops must be designed that are highly productive and can adapt to harsher environments now climate change is starting to exert effects (Climate Change and Land, IPCC 2019). This represents a huge challenge to biologists, plant breeders, agricultural technologists, economists and farmers.


Project description

CAPITALISE is a highly innovative project that will translate world-leading state-of-the-art key photosynthesis traits from laboratory proof of concept studies using model plants, towards a European crop breeding programme demonstrating an increase in crop yield of more than 10%. 


  • High throughput phenotyping of a backcross population completed
  • QTL analysis done for the phenotype data and putative QTLs identified for major photosynthetic traits