UT Scientists Study Photosynthesis to Facilitate the Development of Highly Productive Plant Varieties | University of Tartu
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Contacts of UT units

Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5341
Faculty address: 
Jakobi 2 - 116-121, 51014, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    + 372 737 5341
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, rooms 116 - 121, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of History and Archaeology
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5651
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, 51003, Tartu
  • Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5221
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5314
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, III, rooms 309-352, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of Cultural Research
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5223
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 16, 51003, Tartu
  • School of Theology and Religious Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5301
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18-310, 50090, Tartu
  • College of Foreign Languages and Cultures
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, 51003, Tartu
  • Viljandi Culture Academy
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 435 5232
    Faculty address: 
    Posti 1, 71004, Viljandi
Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5957
Faculty address: 
Lossi 36, 51003, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    + 372 737 5900
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, 51003, Tartu
  • Institute of Education
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6440
    Faculty address: 
    Salme 1a, room 29, 50103, Tartu
  • Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5582
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, roomm 301, 51003, Tartu
  • School of Economics and Business Administration
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6310
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 4, 50409, Tartu
  • Institute of Psychology
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5902
    Faculty address: 
    Näituse 2, 50409, Tartu
  • School of Law
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5390
    Faculty address: 
    Näituse 20, 50409, Tartu
  • Institute of Social Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5188
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, 51003, Tartu
  • Narva College
    Faculty phone: 
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    Faculty address: 
    Raekoja plats 2, 20307, Narva
  • Pärnu College
    Faculty phone: 
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    Faculty address: 
    Ringi 35, 80012, Pärnu
Faculty of Medicine
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5326
Faculty address: 
Ravila 19, 50411, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5326
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 19, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine
    Faculty phone: 
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    Faculty address: 
    Biomeedikum, Ravila 19, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Pharmacy
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    (+372) 737 5286
    Faculty address: 
    Nooruse 1, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Dentistry
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    Faculty address: 
    Raekoja plats 6, 51003, Tartu
  • Institute of Clinical Medicine
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    Faculty address: 
    L. Puusepa 8, 51014, Tartu, Eesti
  • Institute of Family Medicine and Public Health
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 4190
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Sport Sciences and Physiotherapy
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5360
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 5-205, 51014, Tartu
Faculty of Science and Technology
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5820
Faculty address: 
Vanemuise 46-208, 51014, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5820
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46 - 208, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of Computer Science
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5445
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409, Tartu
  • Estonian Marine Institute
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 671 8902
    Faculty address: 
    Mäealuse 14, 12618, Tallinn
  • Institute of Physics
    Faculty address: 
    W. Ostwaldi Str 1, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Chemistry
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5261
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 14a, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Mathematics and Statistics
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5860
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409, Tartu
  • Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5011
    Faculty address: 
    Riia 23, 23b-134, 51010, Tartu
  • Institute of Technology
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 4800
    Faculty address: 
    Nooruse 1, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences
    Faculty phone: 
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    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51014, Tartu
Institutions
  • Library
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5702
    Faculty address: 
    W.Struve 1, 50091, Tartu
  • Youth Academy
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5581
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 38, 51003, Tartu
  • Estonian Genome Center
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 4000
    Faculty address: 
    Riia 23b, 51010, Tartu
  • Museum
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5674
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 25, 51014, Tartu
  • University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6076
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51014, Tartu
Support Units
  • Administrative Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5606
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51014, Tartu
  • University Office in Tallinn
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6600
    Faculty address: 
    Teatri väljak 3, 10143 Tallinn
  • Estates Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5137
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51014, Tartu
  • Finance Office
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    (+372) 737 5125
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 4, 51014, Tartu
  • Information Technology Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6000, arvutiabi: 737 5500
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51014, Tartu
  • Internal Audit Office
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    Ülikooli 17-114, 51014, Tartu
  • Marketing and Communication Office
    Faculty phone: 
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    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, ruum 210, 50090, Tartu
  • Office of Academic Affairs
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    (+372) 737 6215
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090, Tartu
  • Office of Research and Development
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    (+372) 737 6192
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, III korrus, 51003, Tartu
  • Human Resources Office
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    (+372) 737 5145
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, rooms 302 and 304, 50090, Tartu
  • Rector's Strategy Office
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    (+372) 737 5600
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 51014, Tartu
  • Student Council
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    (+372) 737 5400
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18b, 51014, Tartu
Other Units
  • University of Tartu Academic Sports Club
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    +372 737 5371
    Faculty address: 
    Ujula 4, 51008 Tartu
  • Tartu Student Village
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    Faculty address: 
    Narva mnt 25, 51013 Tartu
  • Tartu Students’ Club
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    +372 730 2400
    Faculty address: 
    Kalevi 24, 51010 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Press
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5945
    Faculty address: 
    W. Struve 1, 50091 Tartu
  • Tartu University Hospital
    Faculty address: 
    L. Puusepa 1a, 50406 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Foundation
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5852
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu
  • View all other units

UT Scientists Study Photosynthesis to Facilitate the Development of Highly Productive Plant Varieties

UT Scientists Study Photosynthesis to Facilitate the Development of Highly Productive Plant Varieties

Agu Laisk and Vello Oja, researchers at the UT Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, have developed an apparatus that will help scientists gain a closer insight into processes that determine the speed of photosynthesis in plants. The results of research obtained using the apparatus are expected to assist researchers, for example, in breeding new and more productive plant varieties. The long-standing efforts of the UT researchers who designed the apparatus were recognised at the 15th International Congress on Photosynthesis in Beijing, where they were awarded a prestigious innovation prize.

Photosynthesis is the process that uses energy from sunlight to manufacture organic compounds – the source of all energy in living nature – by combining atmospheric carbon dioxide and water. In order to determine the factors that exert the greatest impact on the rate of photosynthesis, the authors of the apparatus set out to design and construct a set of devices that would allow them to study photosynthesis in closer detail.

According to Professor Agu Laisk, so far researchers have found it difficult to investigate the processes that take place during photosynthesis because conducting such investigations would effectively mean extracting the photosynthesis apparatus from the plant leaf and placing it under a microscope. "By doing so, we would also destroy many important relationships that play a part in photosynthesis, including those that affect the speed of the entire process. The speed of photosynthesis, however, is an important factor that determines the plant's growth rate and productivity," explained Agu Laisk.

In order to be able to pinpoint the factors that determine the speed of the process, the plant leaf has to be placed in a variety of different conditions by changing variables such as ambient temperature, the intensity of light, the concentrations of oxygen and carbon dioxide, while measuring as many of the parameters related to photosynthesis as possible. Unlike in previous research, in the course of their investigations UT scientists paid special attention to changes and fluctuations that can be observed in the photosynthesis process as a result of momentary variations in external conditions. "Such a complex kinetic approach has yielded good results not only in 'reassembling' the photosynthesis process from the constituent components investigated, but it has also helped us to discover new information regarding these components, whose function in a living system differs from that which they have in isolation," said Agu Laisk.

The research results obtained and the conclusions drawn on their basis will help scientists to breed more productive plant varieties. In fact, it may be possible one day to imitate photosynthesis and build artificial systems whose efficiency as a source of renewable energy may be even higher than that of natural photosynthesis encountered in plants.

Photosynthesis will soon be drawn into the limelight of academic attention at the University of Tartu – on October 11-14, the 10th Nordic Photosynthesis Congress will be held here, hosted by the UT Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology.

Additional information: Agu Laisk, Senior Research Fellow in Plant Physiology, telephone +372 526 7922, e-mail agu.laisk [ät] ut.ee

Anneli Miljan
University of Tartu Press Representative
telephone +372 737 5683
mobile phone +372 515 0184
e-mail anneli.miljan [ät] ut.ee
www.ut.ee