Badger Group - Photosynthetic functional genomics

My group is focused on understanding the ways different photosynthetic organisms have adapted their photosynthetic biochemistry and physiology to efficiently fix CO2 in environments where CO2 is a limiting substrate. This includes interests in the biochemical deficiencies of Rubisco (where I started in my PhD), how organisms have developed CO2 concentrating mechanisms (my first postdoc) to overcome these limitations, and how the biochemical pathway of photorespiration deals with the waste products of the Rubisco interaction with O2. We use organisms ranging from cyanobacteria and algae up the plant model systems such as Arabidopsis, spanning different evolutionary scales of photosynthetic development.

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Selected publications

  • Cyanobacterial Carboxysomes: Microcompartments that Facilitate CO2 Fixation. Author(s): Rae, Benjamin D.; Long, Benedict M.; Whitehead, Lynne F.; et al.. Source: Journal of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology Volume: 23 Issue: 4-5 Pages: 300-307 Published: 2013. DOI: 10.1159/000351342
  • D2O Solvent Isotope Effects Suggest Uniform Energy Barriers in Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate Carboxylase/Oxygenase Catalysis. Author(s): Tcherkez, Guillaume G. B.; Bathellier, Camille; Stuart-Williams, Hilary; et al.. Source: Biochemistry Volume: 52 Issue: 5 Pages: 869-877 Published: FEB 5 2013. DOI: 10.1021/bi300933u
  • Gymnosperms Have Increased Capacity for Electron Leakage to Oxygen (Mehler and PTOX reactions) in Photosynthesis Compared with Angiosperms. Author(s): Shirao, Masayoshi; Kuroki, Shu; Kaneko, Kaoru; et al.. Source: Plant and Cell Physiology Volume: 54 Issue: 7 Pages: 1152-1163 Published: JUL 2013. DOI: 10.1093/pcp/pct066
  • The cyanobacterial CCM as a source of genes for improving photosynthetic CO2 fixation in crop species. Author(s): Price, G. Dean; Pengelly, Jasper J. L.; Forster, Britta; et al.. Source: Journal of Experimental Botany Volume: 64 Issue: 3 Pages: 753-768 Published: JAN 2013. DOI: 10.1093/jxb/ers257
  • Thermal Acclimation of the Symbiotic Alga Symbiodinium spp. Alleviates Photobleaching under Heat Stress. Author(s): Takahashi, Shunichi; Yoshioka-Nishimura, Miho; Nanba, Daisuke; et al.. Source: Plant Physiology Volume: 161 Issue: 1 Pages: 477-485 Published: JAN 2013. DOI: 10.1104/pp.112.207480
  • Antisense reductions in the PsbO protein of photosystem II leads to decreased quantum yield but similar maximal photosynthetic rates. Author(s): Dwyer, Simon A.; Chow, Wah Soon; Yamori, Wataru; et al.. Source: Journal of Experimental Botany Volume: 63 Issue: 13 Pages: 4781-4795 Published: AUG 2012. DOI: 10.1093/jxb/ers156
  • Structural Determinants of the Outer Shell of beta-Carboxysomes in Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942: Roles for CcmK2, K3-K4, CcmO, and CcmL. Author(s): Rae, Benjamin D.; Long, Benedict M.; Badger, Murray R.; et al.. Source: Plos One Volume: 7 Issue: 8 Published: AUG 22 2012. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043871
  • The Genetic Dissection of a Short-Term Response to Low CO2 Supports the Possibility for Peroxide-Mediated Decarboxylation of Photorespiratory Intermediates in the Peroxisome. Author(s): Keech, Olivier; Zhou, Wenxu; Fenske, Ricarda; et al.. Source: Molecular Plant Volume: 5 Issue: 6 Pages: 1413-1416 Published: NOV 2012. DOI: 10.1093/mp/sss104
  • A mutation in the purine biosynthetic enzyme ATASE2 impacts high light signalling and acclimation responses in green and chlorotic sectors of Arabidopsis leaves. Author(s): Woo, Nick S.; Gordon, Matthew J.; Graham, Stephen R.; et al.. Source: Functional Plant Biology Volume: 38 Issue: 5 Pages: 401-419 Published: 2011. DOI: 10.1071/FP10218
  • Over-expression of the beta-carboxysomal CcmM protein in Synechococcus PCC7942 reveals a tight co-regulation of carboxysomal carbonic anhydrase (CcaA) and M58 content. Author(s): Long, Benedict M.; Rae, Benjamin D.; Badger, Murray R.; et al.. Source: Photosynthesis Research Volume: 109 Issue: 1-3 Pages: 33-45 Published: SEP 2011. DOI: 10.1007/s11120-011-9659-8.

All publications

Seeing the light: Better plants, better future

Seeing the light: Better plants, better future

Story | Wednesday 3 February 2021
Increasing food production is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. The Australian Academy of Science has produced a video featuring researchers who are from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis and the ANU Research School of Biology.
Architectural representation of a carboxysome on the windows of the RSB Linnaeus building


Story | Thursday 13 April 2017
Carboxysomes are polyhedral protein micro-compartments in cyanobacteria which concentrate CO2 and increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. In 1993, RSBS researchers Dean Price, Murray Badger and Susan Howitt determined the genetic sequence encoding for the proteins that form the protein shell of a carboxysome.

Common grass could help boost food security

Story | Tuesday 29 November 2016
Panic grasses could hold the secret to increasing the yields of cereal crops and help feed the world with increasing temperature extremes and a population of nearly 10 billion people by 2050.

Traveling to East Timor to inspire teachers in science

Story | Thursday 22 September 2016
A partnership between a plant scientist and a teacher has resulted in a trip to the impoverished rural region of Maliana in East Timor

Australian funded Plant Growth Facility opens in the Philippines

Story | Friday 19 February 2016
The Loyd T Evans Growth Facility (PGF), named after John Evan's father, was officially opened on the Philippine campus of the International Rice Research Institute on 21 January 2016.

Efforts to 'turbocharge' rice enter new phase

Story | Thursday 3 December 2015