News

ARC

Crop genetic benefit two fold thanks to algae

Alge has long been known to be one of natures greatest carbon sinks, with some estimates being as high as 25% of carbon being captured into the biosphere by micro-organisms. Now researchers from The Australian National University (ANU) have engineered tiny carbon-capturing engines from blue-green algae into plants.

By: Cameron Costigan | Into the Void Science

Researchers hold tobacco plants next to growth chambers.

Algae could be crucial to boosting crop yields

Scientists have made the break through, into the way plants convert carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight into energy.

By: Eddie Summerfield | 2GB 873 AM

This Week in Science teaser image of the hosts.

This Week in Science Podcast

Australian scientists have managed to combine a CO2-eating carboxysome from blue-green algae with the cells of crop plants in the hopes that yields will eventually increase some 60%.

By: Kirsten Sanford | This Week in Science Podcast

Steve Long

The plant whisperer

A famine crisis is looming. Stephen Long's work aims to feed the masses by supercharging the plants we eat. 

 

By: Duncan Greere || BBC Focus Magazine

Paul South collecting measurements in field

Helping plants remove natural toxins could boost crop yields by 47 percent

Can you imagine the entire population of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the United Kingdom and France going hungry? You don’t need to imagine.

 

By: Paul South || RIPE Project || The Conversation

cassava graphic

Cassava breeding could impair yield by 20 per cent

Breeding African cassava cultivars for improvements such as pest and disease resistance could impair their yield potential, a study suggests.

 

By: Paul Adepoju || SciDevNet  

tobacco

Rebooting food: Finding new ways to feed the future

Welcome to the brave new world of food, where scientists are battling a global time-bombs to find new ways to feed the future.

 

By: Thin Lei Win || Reuters

crops

Genetic engineering innovation makes plants more efficient at using water

The world population is growing rapidly, and that signals big challenges when it comes to how best to feed and fuel everyone our planet has to support. Already agriculture uses 90 percent of the world’s freshwater supply, but this will need to be stretched even further as Earth’s population increases.

 

By:  || Digital Trends 

A project begun nearly 15 years ago is finally coming to fruition, as Nigeria is poised to become the first country to release a genetically modified variety of insect-resistant cowpeas to farmers.  “The cowpea growers have been very supportive. They like the GM crop. They have seen it perform and they are ready to grow it," Issoufou Kollo Abdourhamane, the project's manager at the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), told me.  Cowpeas, known as black-eyed peas in the United States, are a key

Plagued by pest, African farmers may soon have access to insect-resistant GMO cowpeas—for free

Nigeria is poised to become the first country to release a genetically modified variety of insect-resistant cowpeas to farmers.

 

By: Paul McDivitt || Genetic Literacy Project

The photosynthesis fix

The photosynthesis fix

As world food needs rise, so does the need for faster, more efficient plant growth. Bypassing an error-prone enzyme is one way to do it.

 

By: Rachel Ehrenberg || Knowable Magazine

Flyer

Science is more than labcoats: Clearing plant bottlenecks to feed the world with Katherine Meacham

You may be aware of bottlenecks in your work environment, but did you know that even plants have bottlenecks? What if there was a productivity coach for plants? Someone who could give them all of the secrets to being faster, greener and more productive? Someone who could whisper secrets into plant DNA so that they could transform sunlight into a bigger, better plant self…to be eaten by humans of course.

 

By: Ingrdi Heilke || Public Side of Private Work

field

45 million dollars given to U of I research group

Researchers at the U of I are trying to end world hunger and they just got 45 million dollars to help them do it.

 

By: Jennifer Jensen || WCIA3 News

plants

U of I researchers tackle world hunger

A research team from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (U of I) is working on a project that might eventually change the world: tackling the growing issue of world hunger through increased crop yields.

 

By: Illinois News Network

field

Research seeks solutions for climate change, hunger

Researchers at the University of Illinois are taking the basics of photosynthesis miles farther in Urbana-Champaign test plots and greenhouses — intervening in the process, through which plants use sunlight to produce energy, to create higher yields.

 

By: Phyllis Coulter || Illinois Farmer Today

Soybean field at sunset

To feed the world, improve photosynthesis

By reworking the basic metabolism of crops, plant scientists hope to forestall devastating food shortages.

 

By: Katherine Bourzac || MIT Technology Review 

Vera

Video: 2017 Food & Fuel Field Day

Local ag communicator Stu Ellis covered the 2017 Food & Fuel Field Day that showcased RIPE's work to our friends, industry partners, and the media.

 

By: Stu Ellis || WCIA3 News

Fred and Wilma research

U of I crop research moves at light speed with FRED, WILMA

Don’t let the names fool you; FRED and WILMA are anything but Stone Age. FRED (field roving evaluation device) and partner WILMA (wagon for the investigation of leaves using multispectral analysis), and their respective Ph.D. creators at the University of Illinois, Katherine Meacham and Caitlin Moore, collectively gather much more information much faster than individual scientists clipping light sensors on leaves one at a time.

 

By: Kay Shipman || FarmWeek

Researcher in the Field

UI’s RIPE agriculture project aims to tackle growing problem

According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, farmers will need to produce 70 percent more food by 2050 to feed an estimated 9.2 billion people.That's a problem, said Donald Ort, associate director of the RIPE project at the University of Illinois, which is exploring ways to meet this challenge.

 

By: Ben Zigterman | News-Gazette

Fon Ort

RIPE project shows off progress in photosynthesis research

RIPE Project Associate Director Don Ort discusses field trials that have shown increased biomass in tobacco plants from genetic modification of photosynthesis.

 

By: Brian Moline || Illinois Public Media 

Plants

Adapting plants to global change

How do you feed 7 billion people? How do you grow that much food? That’s the question that confronts plant biologists. As the world population continues to grow, and change, researchers like RIPE Director Stephen Long are looking for more ways to grow more food, more quickly.

 

By: Richard Jacobs || FutureTechPodcast

clouds

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.

 

By: Johannes Kromdijk | Katarzyna Głowacka | Stephen Long || The Science Breaker

Cassava Farmers

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.

 

By: Stephen P. Long | Amanda P. De Souza | Lynnicia Massenburg || The Conversation

crops

The 12 key science moments of 2016

Our panel of leading scientists pick the most significant discoveries and developments of the year – from the Zika virus to the planet Proxima B – and a surprising secret of marriage.

 

By: Prof Sue Hartley, Director, York Environmental Sustainability Institute, University of York || The Guardian

tobacco

With an eye on hunger, scientists see promise in genetic tinkering of plants

A decade ago, agricultural scientists at the University of Illinois suggested a bold approach to improve the food supply: tinker with photosynthesis, the chemical reaction powering nearly all life on Earth.

 

By: Justin Gillis || New York Times 

Mennenga GMO

21st Show: What does genetically modified mean?

What does it mean when we say that a plant is genetically modified?

 

By: Niala Boodhoo, Christine Herman, Phillip Kisubika and Sean Neumann || 21st Show

Steven Long

The 21st Show: GMO Labeling

RIPE Director Steve Long discusses the recent U.S. GMO labeling bill on the 21st Show.

 

Provided by: 21st Show

Don Ort

The 21st Show: GMO safety report

RIPE researcher Don Ort discusses public perception of GMOs in the wake of a recent report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, which states GMOs are safe.

 

Provided by: 21st Show

Dr Lee Hickey

Future fare tipped to be GM, GE, ‘organic’ or none as shortages compound

One of the longest running, loudest and bitterest debates about food in modern times centres on the relative virtues of genetically modified and organic crops.

 

By: Andrew Masterson || Sydney Morning Herald

crop

The plan to feed the world by hacking photosynthesis

With the world population projected to soar past the 11 billion mark by 2100, we’re going to need to find some creative new ways of putting food on the table. The latest science-powered plan to feed the world? Hacking photosynthesis.

 

By: Maddie Stone || Gizmodo

rice

Boosting photosynthesis to feed the world

In the next 50 years, the human population and global affluence—both major drivers of agricultural demand—are only expected to increase; researchers estimate that food production will need to grow by 60 to 120 percent by mid-century to keep pace. 

 

By: Kate Wheeling || Pacific Standard 

photosynthesis

Lighter colored upper leaves may be crop ‘photosynthesis hack’

Researchers are determining ways to boost crop production through expanding benefits of photosynthesis and understanding how plants react with light.

 

Source: Farm Futures 

Picture of leaf.

To feed the world, we may need to hack photosynthesis

One of the biggest challenges of the 21st century will be figuring out how to feed our rising global population. Now, some scientists are making the radical claim that growing more food won't be enough—we literally need to hack photosynthesis.

 

By: Maddie Stone  ||  Gizmodo  

Tanaka Paddy

Illinois university rice plot could help yields globally

To date, there has been no reason to use the words rice paddies and Illinois in the same sentence, but researchers at the University of Illinois have put the two together with hopes of making an impact on global supplies of the popular grain.

 

By: Steve Binder || Farm World

Person walking down a dirt road toward a mountain shrouded in clouds.

Better-bred crops could send global warming out to space

Scientists have used computer models to imagine a world where crops are specially bred to reflect away more light and heat, without compromising productivity.

 

By John Upton || Pacific Standard Magazine