banner
corn crops

The world’s population is projected to expand to more than 10 billion people by the year 2050. Experts say that the rate of food production must increase significantly to feed all of those people. British scientists have gained new insights into the compound in plants that plays a vital role in the natural process through which plants grow.

During photosynthesis, plants, algae, and certain microorganisms take in sunlight, water, minerals, and carbon dioxide to create glucose and oxygen. Plants release the oxygen into the atmosphere but use the glucose as energy to grow. The more glucose plants produce, the more they grow, which increases their yield. In a recent study published in Nature, scientists at the University of Sheffield made new revelations about a compound in plants that is vital to maximizing the benefits of photosynthesis: cytochrome b6f.

With the aid of single-particle cryo-electron microscopy, the researchers determined that cytochrome b6f supplies the electrical power that allows two light-powered proteins (chlorophylls) to convert sunlight into chemical energy (glucose). They also found that cytochrome b6f acts as a sensor to scale photosynthesis according to environmental conditions. This ability prevents plants from suffering too much damage when exposed to excess energy from the sun (e.g., during droughts).

Previous research had demonstrated that manipulating the level of cytochrome b6f in a plant can affect how much the plant grows. The University of Sheffield researchers hope to use their new findings to manipulate photosynthesis in plants and help increase crop yields in the future.

More from IFTNEXT right arrow

A new approach to reducing salt while maintaining taste

The dangers of a high-sodium diet have been well documented, but a new technology devised by scientists from Washington State University could help reduce sodium in processed foods while retaining taste and texture.

Sucralose–carbohydrate combo may affect insulin sensitivity

A study found that people who drank beverages that contained the low-calorie sweetener sucralose did experience metabolic problems and issues with neural responses but only when the beverage was formulated with both sucralose and a tasteless sugar (maltodextrin).

Manipulating photosynthesis for food security

British scientists have gained new insights into the compound in plants that plays a vital role in the natural process through which plants grow.

More from IFT right arrow

Saluting IFT Division Competition Winners

Hundreds of research papers were submitted to compete in 2021 IFT Division oral competitions. The first-, second-, and third-place winners are as follows.

SnapDNA is the 2021 IFTNEXT Food Disruptor

Rapid pathogen detection developer SnapDNA wins the 2021 IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge.

Lisa Dyson’s Mission to Make Air-Based Meat—and Why It Matters So Much

A question-and-answer interview with Lisa Dyson about Air Protein, climate change, food security and more.

Latest News right arrow

Coca-Cola sales fall 28%

According to The Wall Street Journal, Coca-Cola Co. said it believes the biggest challenges of the pandemic are behind it, despite the current surge in coronavirus cases in many parts of the United States.

Amazon unveils ‘smart’ shopping cart

According to the Associated Press, Amazon has debuted a new smart shopping cart called the Dash Cart.

Oatly receives a $200 million equity investment led by Blackstone Growth

Oatly, maker of oatmilk, has received $200 million in equity led by Blackstone Growth.

Diageo to launch Johnnie Walker in 100% plastic-free, paper-based bottle

Diageo, makers of Johnnie WalkerSmirnoff, and Guinness, has created a 100% plastic-free and paper-based spirits bottle, made entirely from sustainably sourced wood.

Nespresso to expand its production center in Switzerland

Nespresso has announced a CHF 160 million (approximately $170.5 million) investment to expand its Romont production center in Switzerland to meet increasing consumer demand for its premium coffees and support international development in the coming years.