How can we improve crops in the future? One method would be to improve the photosynthesis process in crops, to increase productivity from the same plants. However, there isn’t a lot of research connecting leaf-level photosynthetic manipulation and crop performance. A new software package developed by Wu et al. produces a model of diurnal crop canopy photosynthesis for well-watered conditions using biochemical models of C3 and C4 photosynthesis scaled to the canopy level using the sun–shade leaves representation of the canopy.
The model simulated the expected responses in diurnal (sunrise to sunset) canopy photosynthesis and daily crop biomass accumulation to key environmental factors (radiation, temperature and CO2), canopy attributes (leaf area index, leaf angle), and canopy nitrogen status (specific leaf nitrogen and its canopy profile). This Diurnal Canopy Photosynthesis Simulator (DCaPS) was developed into a web-based application to enhance model usability.
Writing in Functional Plant Biology, the authors say: “The design of DCaPS, which accepts daily values of environmental parameters and crop attributes allows convenient connection with crop models for seasonal simulation.”