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Carla Wittke

Turnover and cost-benefit analysis of photosynthesis

Crop resilience and production stability are becoming increasingly important in the face of climate change and growing population. Towards engineering crops that are better adapted to changing environmental conditions and requriements, much effort is being made to understand how the productivity of plants - photosynthesis and carbon allocation in particular - is determined by genetic and environmental factors. While measurement of carbon assimilation and metabolic flux analysis provide quantitative information on the fate of photosynthetically fixed carbon, maintenance cost of photosynthesis itself remains largely unknown.

The aim of this project is to gain quantitative information on the turnover (degradation and synthesis) of photosynthetic machinery to enable improved cost-benefit analysis of photosynthesis. Turnover of macromolecules that are directly or indirectly involved in photosynthesis and photoprotection, such as pigments, lipids, cofactors and antioxidants as well as proteins, will be studied by long-term 13CO2 labeling combined with mass spectroscopy. In collaboration with the mathematical modeling group, energy costs of the turnover will be incorporated into the latest models of photosynthesis and carbon metabolism.

Starting date: 01.11.2022 / Qualification Fellow

Thesis committee members: Shizue Matsubara, Andreas Weber, Oliver Ebenhöh