Starch is a key plant carbohydrate, not only in respect to plant growth, but also in providing essential calories for human consumption worldwide.
Numerous major crop species have been bred to have a high seed starch content, including wheat and maize. However, starch granules can vary considerable in size and shape across species.
Through his work Alexander is trying to understand what genes determine this variability, with the aim to eventually manipulate the granule structure of starch in the seed.
This work will then lead into the continuing pursuit of increased starch quality and content within key crop species to help meet future food demands.