The starch-rich endosperms of the Poaceae, which includes wild grasses and their domesticated descendents the cereals, have provided humankind and their livestock with the bulk of their daily calories since the dawn of civilization up to the present day. There are currently unprecedented pressures on global food supplies, largely resulting from population growth, loss of agricultural land that is linked to increased urbanization, and climate change. Since cereal yields essentially underpin world food and feed supply, it is critical that we understand the biological factors contributing to crop yields. In particular, it is important to understand the biochemical pathway that is involved in starch biosynthesis, since this pathway is the major yield determinant in the seeds of six out of the top seven crops grown worldwide. This review outlines the critical stages of growth and development of the endosperm tissue in the Poaceae, including discussion of carbon provision to the growing sink tissue. The main body of the review presents a current view of our understanding of storage starch biosynthesis, which occurs inside the amyloplasts of developing endosperms.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited