Researchers examine ways to improve mileage of plant enzymes to increase crop yield

Industry Insights

For cells of all living beings from bacteria to plants to people, enzymes play an essential role. Some enzymes do their job a few times and come to an end. On the other hand, some enzymes can repeat their task hundreds and thousands of times before they wear out.

Importantly, organisms expend a lot of energy to replace worn out enzymes, which could be put into other processes. In fact, plants cultivated for food, fiber, or fuel or other purposes activated with longer lasting enzymes could translate into higher yields, according to an eminent scholar at the UF/IFAS horticultural sciences department.

“Meanwhile, to replace enzymes amounts to huge sums of money for organisms, which no one ever asked, the duration of life of enzymes and factors that determine this. Therefore, in order to improve the lifespan of enzymes, which enzyme to target is required, stated the lead author of a new study to evaluate the benchmark for durability of an enzyme.

The standard called Catalytic Cycles until Replacement is the first step in a bid to improveg longevity of enzymes, for them to produce more food, fiber, and fuel one day for the world. The findings of the study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and received a grant from the National Science Foundation.

To explain the working of Catalytic Cycles until Replacement, the research associate drew an analogy between parts of a car and enzymes in a cell. This is because enzymes perform a task again and again, akin to parts of a car resulting in wear and tear. Meanwhile, car manufacturers know the number of times a part can perform before it will be required to replace.

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