Bioscience for sustainable agriculture and food

Category: Standard Studentships

Manipulation of chloroplast density to enhance photosynthesis and nutritional value of tomato

Project No. 2156

Primary Supervisor

Dr Andrew Simkin – NIAB EMR


Prof Matthew Terry – University of Southampton


The overall aim of this project is to manipulate chloroplast development and density to produce tomato plants with higher pigment content, enhanced photosynthetic performance, increased yield, and faster developmental performance (i.e. early harvest).

We will also determine the role of plastid number in fruit organic compound sequestration, nutritional and postharvest quality, carbon partitioning and ‘shelf-life’.

 The project has the following objectives:

Obj1 Use Agrobacterium-mediated transformation to produce a variety of transgenic tomato plants with altered combinations of enzymes and proteins identified as targets for the manipulation of chloroplast development, division and density in the photosynthetic tissue and fruit (chromoplast) of tomato.

Obj2 Identify plants with increased photosynthetic performance and evaluate selected lines under environmental conditions mirroring those expected from global climate change to identify plants with high resilience to environmental fluctuations.

Obj3 Identify changes in fruit quality and size, flavour/aroma and nutritional components.