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

Enzyme technology enables efficient PET recycling

France-based Carbios is developing the first biological technology to transform the end-of-life of plastics, says Martin Stephan, deputy CEO of Carbios.

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.

More from IFT right arrow

Cowpea Leaves Help Fight Malnutrition

How the nonprofit group Kesho Congo formulates ready-to-use supplementary food from leaf protein concentrate in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Seeding Innovation

Meet six winners of the inaugural Seeding the Future Global Food System Challenge, a new initiative that invests in organizations that deliver creative, sustainable solutions with the potential to transform the global food system.

Gordon Robertson: Rational Thoughts on Sustainable Packaging

This column offers information about developing sustainable food packaging and food packaging challenges and research opportunities.

From Field to Film

A profile of South Dakota State researcher Srinivas Janaswamy and his work on creating sustainable packaging films.

Figuring Out Frozen Dessert Shrink

Food scientists investigate possible reasons for frozen dessert shrinkage and ways to mitigate the problem.

Latest News right arrow

Lee Kum Kee awarded LEED Platinum certification for Xinhui production base

Lee Kum Kee, an Asian sauce provider, has announced that its Xinhui Production Base was awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification.

Call to action for stronger, better-funded federal nutrition research

According to a group of research, policy, and government experts, the United States needs to strengthen and increase funding for federal nutrition research and improve cross-governmental coordination in order to accelerate discoveries, grow the economy, and—most importantly—improve public health, food/nutrition security, and population resilience.

Report identifies 27 countries heading for COVID-19-driven food crises

New analysis by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Program (WFP) identifies 27 countries that are on the frontline of impending COVID-19-driven food crises, as the pandemic’s knock-on effects aggravate pre-existing drivers of hunger.

Amazon unveils ‘smart’ shopping cart

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

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.