Let there be photosynthesis: three billion years of fresh air

Long ago, the Earth was filled with unbreathable gases that prohibited the existence of life as we know. But a moment in history caused a dramatic shift as oxygen was breathed into the world. It accumulated in the atmosphere and oceans, kickstarting a domino effect of diversification that led to the uniquely habitable planet we … Continue reading Let there be photosynthesis: three billion years of fresh air

Spotlight on photosynthesis

With the world population estimated to reach 10 billion by 2050, food production is a major challenge in keeping the world fed, and Australian science could be part of the solution. One key area of Australian agricultural research is photosynthesis, which is being explored by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis, led by … Continue reading Spotlight on photosynthesis

Producing hydrogen, not oxygen

The search for alternative energy sources is as wide-ranging as it is important. In a new chapter, scientists from the UK and China report that they have built tiny droplet-based microbial factories that produce hydrogen, rather than oxygen, when exposed to daylight in air. Hydrogen is potentially a climate-neutral fuel but making it usually involves … Continue reading Producing hydrogen, not oxygen

Small trees may offer hope for rainforests

Small trees that grow up in drought conditions could form the basis for more drought-resistant rainforests in the future, a new study suggests. Using data from a 15-year experiment in Brazil, an international research team discovered that many small trees respond positively to the extra light they get when larger trees die, increasing their capacity … Continue reading Small trees may offer hope for rainforests

Cancelling noise and being green

Successful photosynthesis is in part about cancelling out noise, according to a unique new model created by a team of scientists with expertise running from physics to biology. They say they borrowed ideas from the science of complex networks – which explores efficient operation in mobile phone networks and the power grid – to construct … Continue reading Cancelling noise and being green