Scientists engineer shortcut for photosynthetic glitch, boost crop growth by 40 percent

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Aerial view of the 2017 field trials where scientists studied how well their plants modified to shortcut photorespiration performed beside unmodified plants in real-world conditions. They found that plants engineered with a synthetic shortcut are about 40 percent more productive. Credit: James Baltz/College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Plants convert sunlight into energy through photosynthesis; however, most crops on the planet are plagued by a photosynthetic glitch, and to deal with it, evolved an energy-expensive process called photorespiration that drastically suppresses their yield potential. Researchers from the University of Illinois and U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service report in the journal Science that crops engineered with a photorespiratory shortcut are 40 percent more productive in real-world agronomic conditions.

“We could feed up to 200 million additional people with the calories lost to photorespiration in the Midwestern U.S. each year,” said principal investigator Donald Ort, the Robert Emerson Professor of Plant Science and Crop Sciences at Illinois’ Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. “Reclaiming even a portion of these calories across the world would go a long way to meeting the 21st Century’s rapidly expanding food demands—driven by population growth and more affluent high-calorie diets.”

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This ‘artificial leaf’ could produce the cleanest energy on Earth

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Plants are the original solar power generators, turning the sun’s rays into energy through the process we all learned about in biology class: photosynthesis. So, when we think of solar power, we should be thinking about plants instead of solar panels.

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Advances made with new synthetic materials open possibilities for manned space exploration

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A man-made leaf absorbs carbon dioxide and water and releases oxygen. 

There are many challenges with space exploration. One inconvenient fact – the lack of oxygen in much of the universe – poses a real challenge to making off world exploration and living a reality. (Videos)

 

 

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Scientists reinventing photosynthesis to feed the world

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If we could make the process more efficient, scientists estimate we could increase yields by 36 to 60 percent.

What if we ended up with 50% more rice and wheat by using the same amount of water and fertilizer? Sound impossible? No, just some chemistry and genetic engineering. Scientists have recently figured out the second of three steps to make photosynthesis a whole lot more efficient in plants.

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Bionic plants use nanotechnology to boost photosynthesis

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Researchers embedded carbon nanotubes in the chloroplasts of the plants to create “artificial antennae.”

Plants make life possible. Chloroplasts are the tiny organelles with a plant’s leaves. The chloroplasts use incoming sunlight to split water molecules and then knit together the energy-rich carbon and hydrogen compounds found in everything from food to fossil fuels. The leftover “waste” is the oxygen that we and the rest of the animal kingdom depend on to survive and thrive.
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MIT creates solar panels from leaves and grass

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Photosynthesizing Solar Cells

Andreas Mershin, a researcher at MIT, has created solar panels from agricultural waste such as cut grass and dead leaves. Mershin says in a few years it will be possible to stir some grass clippings into a bag of cheap chemicals, paint the mixture on your roof, and immediately start producing electricity.

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First Practical Artificial Leaf Developed

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The first practical artificial leaf shows promise as an inexpensive source of electricity for homes in developing countries.

Scientists debut development of the first practical artificial leaf, one of the milestones in the drive for sustainable energy.  The scientists described an advanced solar cell the size of a poker card at the 241st National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. The solar cell mimics the process, called photosynthesis, that green plants use to convert sunlight and water into energy.

 

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Self-Assembling Solar Cells Created That Repair Themselves

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MIT’s Test Cell

Solar cells are intended to mimic the photosynthesis of plants — converting light into energy in the most efficient manner possible. But what other characteristics of plants could be handy for the renewable energy sector to mimic? How about the self-assembly of chloroplast, the component of plants that do all the vital photosynthesis. Leaves repair themselves after sun damage again and again to keep up their ability to convert light into energy. Now, MIT researchers believe they’ve discovered how to use this self-assembly to restore solar cells damaged by the sun.

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YeZ: Eco-Friendly Car that Acts Like a Plant

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YeZ

What if there was an eco-friendly car that acted like a plant? It would take in CO2, and its exhaust would be oxygen. That’s exactly what the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation unveiled at the Shanghai Expo 2010 recently. The YeZ is a concept car designed to photosynthesize carbon dioxide from the air, much like a plant. The car is even designed to emphasize the idea of a eco-friendly through a plant-like process.

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Dye Solar Cells (DSC’s) Based On Photosynthesis

Dye Solar Cell (DSC) Solar Panels

The application of Dye Solar Cells (DSC’s) in many technologies and new products is at least a year away, according to Dyesol, the leading company in the fast-growing DSC sector. DSC technology still has a way to go to catch up with nature. You see, DSC technology is based on the process whereby plants convert light into energy and store it. Plants that use photosynthesis operate 24/7, even when the sun is not shining.

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Diversity Of (Logging Machinery) Species In The Rainforest

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To bring attention to the destruction of rainforests worldwide, German environment conservation group OroVerde and ad agency Ogilvy came up with this tongue-in-cheek poster depicting the various of logging machinery “species” in the rainforest.

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