Contact: Diana Lutz
Washington University in St. Louis
Caption: RuBisCO crucial photosynthetic enzyme sometimes reacts with oxygen rather than carbon, then goes through a long, complicated and energy-expensive process called photorespiration just to recover the carbon and get it back to the starting line. Scientists are trying to fix the problem by stealing ideas from C4 plants. C4 plants (right) prevent RuBisCO from binding oxygen by concentrating carbon dioxide in special photosynthetic cells called bundle-sheath cells. The high concentrations of carbon dioxide in these cells suppress oxygen binding, allowing RuBisCO to work more efficiently.
Credit: Viten, a service of the Norwegian Centre for Science Education
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