How a thin coated film could upgrade photosynthesis and feed 9 billion people
A thin film coated with the rare-earth metal europium is boosting plant productivity. How might this assist in supplying the planet with food in the future?
- Scientists have created a plant-boosting coating that converts high-energy UV light from the sun into lower-energy red light, which plants can use in photosynthesis.
- The technology requires no electricity and demonstrated accelerated growth in both green leafy vegetables and trees.
- It is hoped that the technology may one day be utilized to enhance food production in colder climates while tackling several other sustainable development goals (SDGs).
The emergence of life on Earth depended heavily on the evolution of photosynthesis- the process by which plants and some other organisms use sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to generate oxygen and energy in the form of sugar.
Still, as ancient as photosynthesis is - around 3.5 billion years old, to be a bit more precise - it's surprisingly inefficient. Only a tiny portion of the sunlight reaching a plant is used to fuel its growth, which means our crops produce less food than theoretically possible.
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