FAMINE FIGHTERS: From the lab to the field, U of I crop scientists are engineering a new solution to world hunger
From the lab to the field, U of I crop scientists are engineering a new solution to world hunger
It’s high noon on an unforgiving August day, storm clouds blotting out the bright blue sky, the sun a source of malice and spite. Steve Long, British-born and a boyish 71, takes the Illinois heat in stride—an occupational hazard— as he walks through the 10-acre field, soybeans stretching as far as the eye can see. Though the morning rain has mostly burned away, the smell of humus is still in the air, and the soybeans’ freshly watered leaves are a deep green that meet Long’s approval, as he makes his rounds. But these are no ordinary soybeans—this one field contains more than 600 different varieties—and Long is no ordinary farmer.
A U of I professor of crop sciences and plant biology, Long is one of the planet’s leading researchers on photosynthesis—the process through which plants transform sunlight into energy. For more than 20 years, he and his Illinois colleagues have been expanding science’s understanding of how that process works, one research study at a time. Now, they’re using everything they’ve learned to confront one of Earth’s greatest challenges—world hunger.
If their plan is successful, they will re-write the future of humanity itself.
Read the full article here.
By: Ryan A. Ross || Illinois Alumni Magazine