Sci Adv. 2022 Oct 28;8(43):eabo7683. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abo7683. Epub 2022 Oct 28.
Photosynthesis in fruits is well documented, but its contribution to seed development and yield remains largely unquantified. In oilseeds, the pods are green and elevated with direct access to sunlight. With 13C labeling in planta and through an intact pod labeling system, a unique multi-tissue comprehensive flux model mechanistically described how pods assimilate up to one-half (33 to 45%) of seed carbon by proximal photosynthesis in Camelina sativa. By capturing integrated tissue metabolism, the studies reveal the contribution of plant architecture beyond leaves, to enable seed filling and maximize the number of viable seeds. The latent capacity of the pod wall in the absence of leaves contributes approximately 79% of seed biomass, supporting greater seed sink capacity and higher theoretical yields that suggest an opportunity for crop productivity gains.