Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology
RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

Optimal crop canopy architecture to maximise canopy photosynthetic CO2 uptake under elevated CO2 – a theoretical study using a mechanistic model of canopy photosynthesis

Qingfeng Song A B , Guilian Zhang A B and Xin-Guang Zhu A B C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A CAS Key Laboratory of Computational Biology and CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, 200031, China.

B State Key Laboratory of Hybrid Rice, CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, 200031, China.

C Corresponding author. Email: zhuxinguang@picb.ac.cn

Functional Plant Biology 40(2) 108-124 https://doi.org/10.1071/FP12056
Submitted: 22 February 2012  Accepted: 26 November 2012   Published: 22 January 2013

Abstract

Canopy architecture has been a major target in crop breeding for improved yields. Whether crop architectures in current elite crop cultivars can be modified for increased canopy CO2 uptake rate (Ac) under elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations (Ca) is currently unknown. To study this question, we developed a new model of canopy photosynthesis, which includes three components: (i) a canopy architectural model; (ii) a forward ray tracing algorithm; and (iii) a steady-state biochemical model of C3 photosynthesis. With this model, we demonstrated that the Ac estimated from ‘average’ canopy light conditions is ~25% higher than that from light conditions at individual points in the canopy. We also evaluated theoretically the influence of canopy architectural on Ac under current and future Ca in rice. Simulation results suggest that to gain an optimal Ac for the examined rice cultivar, the stem height, leaf width and leaf angles can be manipulated to enhance canopy photosynthesis. This model provides a framework for designing ideal crop architectures to gain optimal Ac under future changing climate conditions. A close linkage between canopy photosynthesis modelling and canopy photosynthesis measurements is required to fully realise the potential of such modelling approaches in guiding crop improvements.

Additional keywords: canopy architecture, elevated CO2, photosynthesis, ray tracing, sunlit–shaded model.


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