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.