Photosynthesis

Crop yields will need to double to provide global food security and sufficient feedstock to fuel the bio-economy. This requires a new green revolution, a revolution which will be made possible by re-designing the engine of biological productivity; Photosynthesis

Introduction to Photosynthesis

Compared to several wild plant species, crop photosynthesis is not impressive: crops on average use only 1% of the received solar energy. However, models predict that photosynthesis of crops could be up to five times more efficient. By increasing the efficiency of photosynthesis, we can dramatically boost agricultural output and indeed reach the required double yield. Next to sufficient food, this will allow us to produce enough biomass to replace our fossil economy by a bio-economy and provide a significant contribution to re-capture CO2 from the atmosphere, rather than adding more.

When choosing the Photosynthesis theme we guarantee that you will get inspired by the opportunities of this new green revolution in a jam-packed programme full of innovative demonstrations.

Photosynthesis sessions

Our revolution starts with an inspirational plenary presentation with two speakers:

Roberta Croce, Professor of Biophysics of Photosynthesis of the VU Amsterdam and a long-time collaborator with the WUR photosynthesis team, will be setting the scene. She will guide you through the basics of photosynthesis. How does it work again?

Dr. Jeremy Harbinson, Department of Plant Sciences of WUR, will continue with exploring the potential of photosynthesis. What is it good for? How can we optimize photosynthesis and how can we apply it? After these presentation there will be room for questions.

Note: Round 1, 2 and 3 consist of the same sessions. During the round you will visit all five pitching sessions/demonstartions about photosynthesis technologies and their possible applications and impact.

Session 1: Sunlight antennas
Dr. Emilie Wientjes, Assistant Professor Biophysics and Photosynthesis (WUR) will guide through experimental research on photosynthesis. This session will explain and show how and why we measure photosynthesis activity in plants with lasers. It will elaborate on what the impact is of this knowledge for future research.

Session 2: LED there be light
Dr. Wim van Ieperen, Assistant Professor Plant Physiology (WUR) provides an explaination and demonstration of the influence of different colours in LED light on photosynthesis and subsequently on plants. It will clearly show the impact of fundamental research for practical means.

Session 3: Photosynthetic Super Athletes
In nature there are plants which show a much more efficient photosynthesis than agricultural crops. Dr. Jeremy Harbinson, Department of Plant Sciences (WUR) teaches you about photosynthetic super athletes and how we can use this knowledge to our advantage.

Session 4: Virtual plants
Nowadays mathematical models allow us to predict how a plant will grow. Witness a live demonstration by Jochem Evers and Xinyu Yin (Centre for Crop Systems Analysis) of the growth of virtual plants in 3D.

Session 5: The photosynthesis robot
A large part of Photosynthesis research is all about genes. To discover these specific genes which are involved in photosynthesis we make use of state-of-the-art robotics. An inspiring pitch is given by Mark Aarts, Professor Laboratory of Genetics (WUR).