Is it useful for food production in space, where an artificial photosynthesis system that does not require direct sunlight and is up to 18 times more efficient than normal photosynthesis will be developed?

Plants perform 'photosynthesis' to obtain energy from light, and it is known that growth is affected in places not exposed to light. A new joint research team at the University of California, Riverside and the University of Delaware has developed an ' artificial photosynthesis system ' that can supply energy without directly shining light on plants. The developed artificial photosynthesis system can supply energy up to 18 times more efficiently than conventional photosynthesis.

A hybrid inorganic–biological artificial photosynthesis system for energy-efficient food production | Nature Food

Artificial photosynthesis can produce food without sunshine | News

Plants convert light energy into chemical energy by photosynthesis, but according to the research team, the amount of energy obtained during photosynthesis is only 1% of the light energy received by plants. Therefore, the research team worked on the development of an artificial photosynthesis system that can efficiently produce energy.

Below is a schematic diagram of the artificial photosynthesis system constructed by the research team. First, the energy of sunlight is converted into electric energy by a solar panel, and an acetate is synthesized from electric energy, carbon dioxide and water in an electrolytic tank . By growing plants using this acetate as nutrients, it is possible to supply nutrients even if the plants are not exposed to light.

As a result of the research team optimizing the composition of the electrolytic cell, extremely efficient synthesis of acetate has been realized, and it has become possible to convert about 4% of the light energy received by the solar panel into nutrients for plants. .. According to the research team, this result shows that the artificial photosynthesis system can produce nutrients up to 18 times more efficiently than normal photosynthesis.

In addition, in experiments using mushrooms such as Chlamydomonas and Flammulina filiformis, which are a type of green alga, the growth rate may be the same when grown in a general medium and when acetate synthesized in an electrolytic cell is used. It has been confirmed. In addition, it has been confirmed that the artificial photosynthesis system can be used to grow crops such as 'rice,' 'green peas,' ' canola ,' ' cowpea ,' 'tobacco,' and 'tomato.'

'We aimed to break the limits of photosynthesis and develop ways to produce food,' said Robert Zinkerson , a member of the research team. 'If food production by artificial photosynthesis becomes widespread, agricultural land can be reduced. It will reduce the impact of agriculture on the environment and will allow us to feed more crew members with less energy, even in non-traditional places like space. ' 'Imagine growing tomatoes in the dark or on Mars someday. How much fun it will be for the people of Mars in the future,' said Martha Orosco Cardenas, a member of the research team. He talks about expectations for the future in which photosynthesis systems will be used in space.

The research on the artificial photosynthesis system mentioned above has passed Phase 1 in the NASA competition ' Deep Space Food Challenge ' on food in outer space.

in Science,   Junk Food, Posted by log1o_hf