Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

Ecology Department Core Capability - Phototrophic Molecular Ecology (PME)

The ability of phototrophic organisms, such as plants, algae and cyanobacteria, to convert solar energy into biomass is of immense importance since the very survival of both photoautotrophic and non-photoautotrophic organisms depends on this process. In addition, the efficiency of photosynthetic CO2 assimilation into storage and structural products is one of the main factors that determine the efficiency of biological carbon sequestration, and the economic viability of biofuel production.

Improvements in the area of photosynthetic performance to meet the challenges of a changing climate require a thorough understanding of light-dependent primary photosynthetic events and CO2 fixation in cyanobacteria, algae, and in plant source organs such as leaves, transport of photosynthate (primarily sucrose) to plant sink organs such as seeds, uptake and metabolism of photosynthate in sink cells, deposition of sucrose-derived carbon as storage (e.g. starch) or structural (e.g. cellulose) compounds, the metabolic fluxes in plant sinks, and mechanisms that regulate source-sink interactions.

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