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Feeding the world how plant biologists are working to avert the world food crisis.

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Presentation on theme: "Feeding the world how plant biologists are working to avert the world food crisis."— Presentation transcript:

1 Feeding the world how plant biologists are working to avert the world food crisis

2 £2 billion needed for science ’Grand Challenge’ to help feed the world The world is facing a potential crisis in terms of food security. The perfect storm – food energy and water Need to double crop production by 2050 to keep up with growing demand

3 Thomas Robert Malthus

4 The Green Revolution UK wheat yields have doubled since the 1970s That increase has ended UK wheat yields

5 To improve crop yields we need plants that: 1)Absorb more light 2)Capture the light better through photosynthesis 3)Put greater proportion of resources into useable products

6 Improving photosynthesis will improve crop yields… …but what limits photosynthesis?

7 Global warming threatens yields

8 Drought ! HEAT Cold! Rain Predicted effects of Global Climate Change

9 UK wheat yields ~12% drop in yield Due to poor summer weather 1975/6 Summer droughts 2007 Wet 2001 “Very average” Weather conditions affect yield Our research seeks to understand the factors that cause yields to fluctuate and so identify traits that increase yields in bad years

10 What we are going to do today… 1)Visit the Faculty “Nature Garden” – collect some nature to use in the lab. 2)Visit a research lab 3)Experiments: a) Heat tolerance in different leaves – which plants are best suited to surviving hot environments? b) Chlorophyll– making the most of light

11 Experiment 1 – heat tolerance Different plants have different ability to tolerate heat Heat stress affects photosynthesis Measure the heat tolerance using a “Plant stress meter” (FluoroPen)

12 Experiment 2 – Chlorophyll content Plants contain 2 forms of chlorophyll, a & b. Absorb different colours of light Leaves in shade contain different ratio of chlorophylls to absorb different part of spectrum Measure the chlorophyll content using scanning spectrophotometer

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