Undergrad-led study suggests light environment modifications could maximize productivity

Crops form canopies with overlapping leaves. Typically, the sun leaves at the top of the canopy photosynthesize at maximum efficiency at high light, while shade leaves at the bottom photosynthesize at maximum efficiency at low light. However, this is not the case for maize (corn) and the bioenergy crop Miscanthus. Researchers have published a study that looked into the cause for this maladaptation and found that altered light conditions, not leaf age, were these crops’ Achilles’ Heel.