Modeling Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis—the 170-step natural process in which plants use sunlight and carbon dioxide to grow—is one of the most basic, yet incredibly complex, processes in biology. It is also inefficient. Approximately only 5 percent of the energy from sunlight is converted into plant growth and even less into the parts of the plants that we eat. Scientists speculate that photosynthesis could be transformed if they could find which steps out of the total 170 can be tweaked and modified to make the process more efficient. With the rapid increase in technological advancements, computers can simulate photosynthesis in a real-life environment. These simulations provide a realistic representation of the entire process and can show what happens to plants if variables were to be manipulated, such as light energy distribution by altering the angle of leaves, adding additional cellular machinery, or changes in climate. By using mathematical equations in the computer system, it is possible to see which potential combinations of changes in photosynthesis would lead to the most crop growth and highest yields.

 

Simulation of cassava growing
RIPE simulation of cassava growth. Created by Yu Wang.

 


Anthony Digrado
Peng Fu
Yufeng He_headshot
Bethany Holland
Deepak Jaiswal headshot
Pouyan Khakbaz
Edward Lochocki
Steve Long
Megan Matthews
Justin McGrath
Qu
Scott Rohde_Headshot
Balaji Selvam
Diwakar
Qingfeng Song
Yu Wang
Yi Xiao_headshot
Honglong Zhao
Xinguang Zhu
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OVER THE COLES: Dynamic photosynthesis model simulates 10-20 percent yield increase

A team from the University of Illinois has developed a model that treats photosynthesis as a dynamic process rather than an activity that either is or is not happening.

By: Clint Walker || Journal Gazette & Times-Courier 

Brett Fedderson_Illinois Farmer Today_Thumbnail

New facilities support photosynthesis studies

Last year, researchers focused on improving yields by enhancing the effectiveness of photosynthesis saw tobacco and soybean yield increase by 20% over conventional varieties.

By: Phyllis Coulter || Illinois Farmer Today

Yu Wang and Steve Long

Study shines light on full potential of soybeans

Komorebi is a Japanese word that describes how light filters through leaves — creating shifting, dappled “sunflecks” that illustrate plants’ ever-changing light environment. Crops harness light energy to fix carbon dioxide into food via photosynthesis.

By: AgriNews Publications

Innovative technologies in the agricultural space provides food and climate security

A team of researchers, including RIPE Director Steve Long, proposed possible technological solutions to our food security and climate change emergencies. 

PBS NOVA BEYOND THE ELEMENTS: LIFE

In their three-part series examining everyday life through the lens of chemistry, PBS NOVA is premiering an episode featuring RIPE's work.

Light signal emitted during photosynthesis used to quickly screen crops

Illinois researchers reveal a new approach to estimating the photosynthetic capacity of crops to pinpoint their top-performing traits and speed up the process.