In a breakthrough, RIPE has engineered tiny carbon-capturing engines from blue-green algae into plants to significantly boost crop yields one day.
As reported in Nature Communications, RIPE has improved how a crop uses water by 25 percent—without compromising yield—by altering the expression of one gene.
Scientists have developed tools to simulate millions of years of evolution in days to help plants adapt to changing conditions.
University of Illinois receives grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, FFAR, and DFID to catalyze photosynthetic improvements, increase yields for farmers worldwide
Across Africa, armies of hungry caterpillars destroy the flowers and pods of cowpeas; casualties can reach 80 percent of this staple food crop if no measures are taken. But the real victims are smallholder African farmers who feed their families on farms smaller than five acres. Next year, they will have the option to grow cowpeas that are resistant to one of these pests.
As farmers survey their fields this summer, several questions come to mind: How many plants germinated per acre? How does altering row spacing affect my yields? Does it make a difference if I plant my rows north to south or east to west? Now a computer model can answer these questions by comparing billions of virtual fields with different planting densities, row spacings, and orientations.
Media, industry and policymakers are invited to see the plants that could help feed and fuel the world by 2050 and meet the scientists who engineered them at the 2017 Food & Fool Field Day on Thursday, July 13, at the University of Illinois Energy Farm. This free, day-long event will be held rain or shine with intimate round-table discussions, hands-on field tours and robot demonstrations, and one-on-one interviews.
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.
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.
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.
Researchers report in the journal Science that they can increase plant productivity by boosting levels of three proteins involved in photosynthesis.
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.
In a recent study, researchers used a rapid screening technique that genetically engineers plants--in real time--to investigate how to help plants realize their full potential on cloudy days.
David Drag is not a stranger to hard work; everyday in the field or greenhouse presents a new challenge. “Sensors need to be cleaned, plants need to be watered and harvested—greenhouse work is a full time job,” he says.
For 40 years Steve Long has been doing ground-breaking work - at molecular, biochemical and physiological level - in the lab and the field, and on the computer.
In the race against world hunger, we’re running out of time. By 2050, the global population will have grown and urbanized so much that we will need to produce 87 percent more of the four primary food crops – rice, wheat, soy, and maize – than we do today.
Despite record-high yields of corn and soybean across the United States in 2014, climate scientists warn that rising temperatures and future extreme weather may soon put crop yields like this in danger.
Amanda de Souza cradles a plastic petri dish in her hands. Tiny plants press against the lid; their roots form a delicate web. It’s hard to imagine that hope for millions of people may lie inside something so small, so seemingly fragile.
Situated next to the University of Illinois’s Plant Core Facility on Dorner Drive, a once state-of-the-art controlled environment greenhouse and laboratory sat unused until now.
Using high-performance computing and genetic engineering to boost the photosynthetic efficiency of plants offers the best hope of increasing crop yields enough to feed a planet expected to have 9.5 billion people on it by 2050, researchers report in the journal Cell.
Australian scientists have found a way to improve production of an enzyme essential to plant growth. The discovery advances efforts to improve global food security that aim to increase the yields of some of our most important staple crops, such as wheat, cotton and rice.
University of Illinois researchers established the university's first rice paddy to test rice performance in Illinois and at Kyoto University in Japan. The two plots, which were planted on the same date, should reveal clues about what factors help the plants more efficiently convert the sun's energy into food, known as photosynthetic performance.
Crops that produce more while using less water seem like a dream for a world with a burgeoning population and already strained food and water resources.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has received a five–year, $25-million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve the photosynthetic properties of key food crops, including rice and cassava.