Plant science and agricultural productivity: Why are we hitting the yield ceiling?

Stève de Bossoreille de Ribou, Florian Douam, Olivier Hamant, Michael W. Frohlich, Ioan Negrutiu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Trends in conventional plant breeding and in biotechnology research are analyzed with a focus on production and productivity of individual organisms. Our growing understanding of the productive/adaptive potential of (crop) plants is a prerequisite to increasing this potential and also its expression under environmental constraints. This review concentrates on growth rate, ribosome activity, and photosynthetic rate to link these key cellular processes to plant productivity. Examples of how they may be integrated in heterosis, organ growth control, and responses to abiotic stresses are presented. The yield components in rice are presented as a model. The ultimate goal of research programs, that concentrate on yield and productivity and integrating the panoply of systems biology tools, is to achieve "low input, high output" agriculture, i.e. shifting from a conventional "productivist" agriculture to an efficient sustainable agriculture. This is of critical, strategic importance, because the extent to which we, both locally and globally, secure and manage the long-term productive potential of plant resources will determine the future of humanity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-176
Number of pages18
JournalPlant Science
StatePublished - Sep 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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