Developing heuristic in silico models for C3 photosynthesis integrating electrochemical, biophysical and biochemical processes

This project aims to build a comprehensive heuristic thermodynamic biophysical-biochemical super-model which quantifies the various aspects of photosynthesis. It tries to create more clarity on the uncertainties in the Farquhar-von Caemmerer-Berry fotosynthesis model, which includes the quantification of the impact of alternative electron transport pathways necessary to balance NADPH and ATP synthesis, the uncertainties about the proton to ATP ratio, the uncertainty about the fraction of electrons used for the Q-cycle and the uncertainty about the lower efficiency of the PSII electron transport. From there we will develop a more complete model in which a thylakoid membrane module and a metabolic module are combined and integrated into a leaf module taking into account the spatial aspects of irradiance penetration and CO2 diffusion within a leaf. 

With the renewed model we will be much better able to address research questions related to the efficiency of C3 photosynthesis of tomato under diverse conditions, the impact of stress on photosynthesis, the 2D and 3D aspects of gas exchange in anatomically and morphologically diverse structures,
and the 3D distribution of light energy within a leaf, a plant and a crop stand. The model will be instrumental in identifying the best (technical and genetic) strategies to increase the efficiency of photosynthesis and resource use (light, energy, water, nutrients) of tomato.
The research in this project is primarily done at the Centre for Crop Systems Analysis (CSA), Plant Sciences group, Wageningen University, in co-operation with the Horticultural Production Chains Group of Wageningen UR, the Laboratory of Biophysics of Wageningen UR, and the Department of Biophysical Chemistry/Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, University of Groningen.
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