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Biotech Science

Scientists Aim To Improve Photosynthesis 156

vasanth writes "Two new initiatives at the University of Cambridge aim to address the growing demand on the Earth's resources for food and fuel by improving the process of photosynthesis. Four transatlantic research teams – two of which include academics from Cambridge's Department of Plant Sciences – will explore ways to overcome limitations in photosynthesis which could then lead to ways of significantly increasing the yield of important crops for food production or sustainable bioenergy. Despite the fact that photosynthesis is the basis of energy capture from the sun in plants, algae and other organisms, it has some fundamental limitations. There are trade-offs in nature which mean that photosynthesis is not as efficient as it could be – for many important crops such as wheat, barley, potatoes and sugar beet, the theoretical maximum is only 5%, depending on how it is measured. There is scope to improve it for processes useful to us, for example increasing the amount of food crop or energy biomass a plant can produce from the same amount of sunlight."
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Scientists Aim To Improve Photosynthesis

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  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @12:37AM (#35789546)
    This is a horrible, horrible idea. If you make photosynthesis more efficient, plants won't have to spend all their time generating food. A few hours a day, and they'll have all they need. Soon enough, plants will have more free time than they know what to do with. They'll wake up in the morning, spend a couple of hours making sugar, and spend the rest of the day sitting in coffee shops and arguing about the finer points of whatever passes for philosophy among the members of the plant kingdom.

    Eventually, various collectives will form based on commonalities of ideas and who is rooted near what coffee shop. Sure, most of these collectives will concern themselves primarily with taking drugs and producing regrettable artworks, but eventually some of them will start to ponder their lot in life at the constant mercy of mankind. This will lead to the writing of lengthy treatises on the Rights of Plants and how they are constantly being trod upon (often quite literally) by man. After that, it's only a matter of time before they rise up under the banner of the Glorious Plant Revolution and kill us all.

    Honestly, the last thing we can afford to do is make plants more efficient.

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