Sun. Sep 25th, 2022
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British scientists have discovered new information on a chemical found in plants that plays an important part in the natural process of plant growth.

By 2050, the world’s population is expected to reach more than 10 billion people. According to experts, the rate of food production must drastically increase in order to feed all of those people. British scientists have discovered new information on a chemical found in plants that plays an important part in the natural process of plant growth.

Plants, algae, and some microbes use sunlight, water, minerals, and carbon dioxide to produce glucose and oxygen during photosynthesis. Plants release oxygen into the atmosphere, but they rely on glucose for energy. Plants grow faster when they create more glucose, which enhances their yield. Scientists from the University of Sheffield uncovered new discoveries concerning cytochrome b6f, a molecule found in plants that is critical for maximizing the benefits of photosynthesis, in a recent paper published in Nature.

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The researchers discovered that cytochrome b6f provides the electrical power that allows two light-powered proteins (chlorophylls) to transform sunlight into chemical energy using single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (glucose). They also discovered that cytochrome b6f functions as a sensor, allowing photosynthesis to be scaled in response to environmental variables. When plants are exposed to too much energy from the sun, this ability stops them from incurring too much damage (e.g., during droughts).

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Changing the amount of cytochrome b6f in a plant can change how much it grows, according to a previous study. The researchers at the University of Sheffield intend to utilize their new findings to influence photosynthesis in plants in the future, thereby increasing food yields.

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