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Oxygenic photosynthesis is imperfect, and the evolutionarily conditioned patchwork nature of the light reactions in plants provides ample scope for their improvement (Leister, 2012; Blankenship and Chen, 2013). In fact, only around 40% of the incident solar energy is used for photosynthesis. Two obvious ways of reducing energy loss are to expand the spectral band used for photosynthesis and to shift saturation of the process to higher light intensities. Indeed, even minor enhancements to the efficiency or stress resistance of the light reactions of photosynthesis should have a positive impact on biomass production and yield (Leister, 2012; Blankenship and Chen, 2013; Long et al., 2015).

Various approaches to engineering the light reactions are discussed in the following review.