Feeding and Fuelling the Future with One SWEET at a Time

ArtistJessie Marshall
ScientistLily Chen
Scientist PositionPhD Candidate, Research School of Biology, ANU

Feeding and Fuelling the Future with One SWEET at a Time

My PhD project involves studying sugar movement pathways which ultimately is aimed to increase sugar transport to sink tissues (non-photosynthetic) from the source tissue (photosynthetic). Transporters called SWEETs (Sugars Will Eventually be Exported Transporters) help to move these sugars such as glucose and sucrose. Tissues such as the seed head and stem are examples and of sinks and thereby increasing sugar content we can increase yield of these crops.
Increased yield can mean increased food availability and biomass that may be used in biofuel production such as bio-ethanol and bio-diesel. I focus on studying C 4 photosynthetic species such as the model plant Setaria viridis (others include maize and sugarcane) because these types of plants can more efficiently convert carbon into sugars than other plants types and require less input such as water and nitrogen to create bountiful outputs.