With the world population projected to soar past the 11 billion mark by 2100, we’re going to need to find some creative new ways of putting food on the table. The latest science-powered plan to feed the world? Hacking photosynthesis.
Imagine if we could grow 30 to 60 percent more wheat in a field, using the same amount of space, water, fertilizer, and sunlight. That’s what scientists are now hoping to do, by redesigning the process plants use to turn sunlight into chemical energy. The idea of upgrading photosynthesis isn’t new, but it’s been gaining momentum in step with our ability to manipulate life on a molecular scale. This week, a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences lays out the scientific roadmap that’ll make it happen.