Wednesday - June 14, 2017

Research collaboration for a more efficient photosynthesis in wheat:

Bayer and the Shanghai Institutes of Biological Sciences team up to enhance crop yields

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Young wheat plants

Monheim, June 14, 2017 – Bayer has entered into a two-year research agreement with the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences (SIBS) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). The aim of the agreement is to improve wheat yields by sharing cutting-edge science and applying new models for improved photosynthetic efficiency in plants.

Over the past years, Bayer has already nurtured a close partnership with SIBS. A part of the Institute’s research focuses on photosynthesis systems biology, in particular on developing and applying models for understanding and improving photosynthetic systems in major crops. Under the new collaboration, researchers from SIBS will work closely together with Bayer on developing and validating a wheat canopy photosynthesis model.

“The world population is growing, and arable land is limited. The crops of the future will have to deliver top performance, especially in wheat, which accounts for about 20% of the world’s food energy intake today” says Jeroen Van Rie, Crop Efficiency Trait Research expert and Bayer’s lead scientist in the project. “In our joint research work, we have set out to build a wheat canopy photosynthesis model that will help us identify ways of improving photosynthesis and yield.”

Prof. Zhu Xinguang, Principal Investigator of the Plant Systems Biology group at Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology (SIPPE), adds: “Improving photosynthesis is one of the most promising approaches now to dramatically improve crop productivity. Model-based analyses are an effective way to identify new options to enhance photosynthesis. In this new grant, we will develop advanced wheat canopy photosynthesis models to help guide future wheat breeding.”

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and water into carbohydrates and biomass. As crops today are cultivated at high density to achieve maximum yield, the plants tend to grow together to form a canopy that prevents light from penetrating to the lower leaves. While upper leaves frequently receive more light than they can possibly use for photosynthesis, the lower leaves remain behind their photosynthetic potential. Computer simulations suggest that changes in plant architecture would allow for higher levels of photosynthesis lower in the canopy, thereby greatly increasing canopy photosynthesis and consequently yield.

Bayer: Science For A Better Life

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2016, the Group employed around 115,200 people and had sales of EUR 46.8 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.7 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October 6, 2015. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.

About SIBS and SIPPE

The Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences (SIBS) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences is a leading biological research institute in China. It was founded in July 1999 by merging eight CAS biological science institutes in Shanghai, including Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology (SIPPE). SIPPE hosts the Center for Excellence of Molecular Plant Sciences and spans major agriculture research areas of strategic importance such as sustainable agriculture, ecology and environment, bioenergy and bio-manufacturing. The Plant Systems Biology group in SIPPE works at the interface between plant biology, theory, modelling and breeding. Special attention is given to the modelling of complex processes in molecular networks and cell systems, capturing the most recent progress in photosynthesis research and modern computing power.

Forward-Looking Statements
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

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