Improving crop yield potential: Underlying biological processes and future prospects

Alexandra J. Burgess, Céline Masclaux-Daubresse, Günter Strittmatter, Andreas P.M. Weber, Samuel Harry Taylor, Jeremy Harbinson, Xinyou Yin, Stephen Long, Matthew J. Paul, Peter Westhoff, Francesco Loreto, Aldo Ceriotti, Vandasue L.R. Saltenis, Mathias Pribil, Philippe Nacry, Lars B. Scharff, Poul Erik Jensen, Bertrand Muller, Jean Pierre Cohan, John FoulkesPeter Rogowsky, Philippe Debaeke, Christian Meyer, Hilde Nelissen, Dirk Inzé, René Klein Lankhorst, Martin A.J. Parry, Erik H. Murchie, Alexandra Baekelandt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The growing world population and global increases in the standard of living both result in an increasing demand for food, feed and other plant-derived products. In the coming years, plant-based research will be among the major drivers ensuring food security and the expansion of the bio-based economy. Crop productivity is determined by several factors, including the available physical and agricultural resources, crop management, and the resource use efficiency, quality and intrinsic yield potential of the chosen crop. This review focuses on intrinsic yield potential, since understanding its determinants and their biological basis will allow to maximize the plant's potential in food and energy production. Yield potential is determined by a variety of complex traits that integrate strictly regulated processes and their underlying gene regulatory networks. Due to this inherent complexity, numerous potential targets have been identified that could be exploited to increase crop yield. These encompass diverse metabolic and physical processes at the cellular, organ and canopy level. We present an overview of some of the distinct biological processes considered to be crucial for yield determination that could further be exploited to improve future crop productivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere435
JournalFood and Energy Security
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • crop improvement
  • crop yield
  • food supply
  • nutrient remobilisation
  • organ growth
  • photosynthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Food Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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