Understanding carbon accumulation in the plant root
Could plants help to alleviate the climate crisis?
Lead researcher: Dr Gabriel Castrillo
The CO2 increment caused by human activity is directly linked to the climate crisis. Neutralising our CO2 increment is critical for the future of humanity but no comprehensive solutions have yet been developed. Plants use a massive amount of CO2 in the synthesis of complex molecules in the root, such as suberin; these molecules remain in the soil after the plant dies or after harvest. Therefore, controlling the synthesis of these molecules and their subsequent storage in soil is an excellent strategy to control the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.
We will induce controlled changes in the suberin accumulation in the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, and then measure how the plant responds to these perturbations. This will inform us about the mechanism that plants use to control suberin synthesis. Importantly, this project will open unexplored avenues for the development of crops with high concentrations of suberin, maximising CO2 storage in soil and hopefully minimising fertiliser inputs.
Funded by The Royal Society