The low activity and the competing reactions catalysed by Rubisco are major limitations to photosynthetic carbon assimilation in C3 plants; the present paper considers how these limitations can be overcome. The limitations could be most effectively addressed by introducing Rubisco with a higher catalytic rate and/or better able to discriminate between gaseous substrates. Although enzymes with desirable characteristics are available, technical advances are required before their potential can be realized in major crop plants. Significant improvements could be achieved also by increasing the concentrations of the productive substrates, CO2 and RuBP, at the active site of Rubisco. Critically, it is essential that other environmental and genotype constraints are minimized, to realize the highest photosynthetic potential.
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