Plant science could ease global food and fuel demands

An international team of 12 leading plant biologists, including Carnegie’s Wolf Frommer, say their discoveries could have profound implications for increasing the supply of food and energy for our rapidly growing global population. All of their work focuses on the mechanisms that plants use for transporting small molecules across their membranes and thus for controlling water loss, resisting toxic metals and pests, increasing salt tolerance, and storing sugar.

Collectively, the group has discovered details about the biochemistry and genetics of plant transport proteins that could have a profound impact on global agriculture. In a perspective piece, published by Nature, the team argues that the application of their findings could help the world meet its increasing demand for food and fuel, as the global population grows from seven billion people to an estimated nine billion by 2050.

Frommer and his colleagues state that many of the recent discoveries in laboratories around the world had previously been below the radar—known only to a small group of other plant biologists. By widely disseminating their findings, the team hopes to educate policymakers and speed the eventual application of their discoveries to global agriculture.

Provided by the Carnegie Institution for Science

Runtime: 3:09

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