RIPE associate director elected to NAS

RIPE Associate Director Donald Ort is among four University of Illinois professors elected to the National Academy of Sciences this year.

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Newly characterized protein has potential to save U.S. farmers millions annually

Instead of turning carbon into food, many plants accidentally make a plant-toxic compound during photosynthesis that is recycled through a process called photorespiration. University of Illinois and USDA/ ARS researchers report in Plant Cell the discovery of a key protein in this process, which they hope to manipulate to increase plant productivity.

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Cloudy days cost yield until scientists hacked photosynthesis

Throughout the growing season seemingly benign clouds pass over millions of acres of crops and inadvertently rob plants of their productivity, costing untold bushels of potential yield. Researchers recently reported in the journal Science that they have engineered a solution and increased the productivity of a crop in the field by 14- 20 percent—they believe this fix could be applied to staple food crops to help meet future global food demands.

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Research shows how to grow more cassava, one of the world’s key food crops

What root vegetable is toxic eaten raw but a hunger quencher when cooked, and provides both tapioca flour and the pearls in bubble tea? This question probably will stump many Americans, but is easy for people in the developing world.

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RIPE leadership rank among world’s most influential researchers

RIPE leaders Steve Long and Don Ort have been named to the Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list for 2016, previously known as the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers.

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Soybean plants with fewer leaves yield more

Using computer model simulations, scientists predicted fewer leaves could boost yields and confirmed it works in real-world field trials—increasing soybean production by 8%. This yield gain, which far surpasses the one percent average, is needed to produce 70-100% more food by 2050 to feed an estimated 9.7 billion people.

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Scientists tweak photosynthesis and boost crop yield, proving it can be done

Researchers report in the journal Science that they can increase plant productivity by boosting levels of three proteins involved in photosynthesis. In field trials, the scientists saw 14- to 20-percent increases in the productivity of their modified tobacco plants.

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Tapestry of Hope

Sweat sneaks beneath Kasia’s sunglasses as she tiptoes around the carefully organized research plots, orchestrated using GPS technology. The tiny plants reach up to grasp the sun, creating a mosaic of greens and yellows as they grow and mature, a tapestry of hope for the researchers who have cared and cultivated them.

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Researchers root for more cassava research

Cassava makes up nearly 50 percent of the diet in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, where populations are projected to increase by more than 120% in the next 30 years. With stagnant yields for the last half century, scientists realize the need to focus their efforts on this crop now.

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RIPE helps researchers garner new grant

RIPE Director Steve Long was awarded IPOC funding to pursue increased photosynthetic efficiency, and therefore productivity, in plants. Specifically, the funding will be used to speed up plant recovery from photoprotection in corn and soybeans using biotechnology.

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