Tag: photosynthesis

  • Sustainability, media and e-infrastructure

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    It is obvious (not least from the recent recognition of the effects of anthropogenic climate change) that we shall have to move rather soon to sustainable means of living that do not rely on fossil fuels, that solar energy in various guises is going to (have to) provide the wherewithal, and that research in biology sensu lato will make a major contribution to our success. Most relevant industries recognise this already, and are already gearing up to derive their materials from environmentally sustainable sources. This agenda lies at the core of our strategies in global food security and in bioenergy and sustainable industrial biotechnology (the BioEconomy).

    We are developing these in many ways, one of which – on innovative approaches to improving photosynthetic efficiency – was highlighted at a session that we sponsored at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. (A very interesting biochemical network model of photosynthesis has just appeared, that with other methods may serve as a useful starting point for the bioengineering-based improvement of photosynthesis.) [...]

  • Thanet earth, ISPGs, Science and Technology Select Committee and Babraham

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    The first visit of last week was to the exceptionally impressive Thanet Earth, a very large glasshouse complex (the site is 55 ha) in <ahem> Thanet, i.e. south-east Kent. Energy (both light and heat) and CO2 to assist crop growth are provided by an onsite combined heat and power station, while spare electricity is sold to the grid. Everything is computer controlled, and the main crops are cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes of various colours, sizes and flavours (including the very delicious piccolo and sunstream). Clearly a very great deal of thought had gone into the site location, the state-of-the-art glasshouse design and the overall business model. We were told that 1% more light = 1% more yield, clearly implying room for improvement in photosynthetic efficiency, a topic of present focus. (This does not imply, incidentally, that photosynthesis is the only process controlling yield in such systems, as two entirely separate processes could do so provided that a third does by a separate means such that its inhibition, rather than stimulation, would improve yield. This follows from the theory of Metabolic Control Analysis) [...]