From 7 to 12 August 2016, the Dutch city of Maastricht will host the prestigious International Congress on Photosynthesis, where global photosynthesis experts will share and discuss the latest developments in the field. It is the first time that the congress will take place in the Netherlands, underlining the important position of the country in international research on this subject. The triennial congress of the International Society of Photosynthesis Research is highly renowned, and it is an honour that Herbert van Amerongen of Wageningen UR and Roberta Croce of the VU University in Amsterdam get to organise the event.
“Photosynthesis is a significant field of research which ranges from molecular insights into the way in which plants, algae and other organisms ‘capture’ light to the monitoring of plant and crop growth on a global scale,” says Van Amerongen, Professor in Biophysics at Wageningen University. “It involves thousands of scientists from around the world.”
Improving the production of crops to ensure sufficient food for the growing global population requires more insight. In addition, dealing with the consequences of climate change also demands a better understanding of photosynthesis. Another relevant issue is the development of a new energy sector, which involves anything from biomass production and algae to the development of artificial leaves.
The research has seen many breakthroughs in this field over recent years. “We now have insight into the structure of Photosystem II, a major player in photosynthesis,” Van Amerongen continues. “This has given a major stimulus to research into the biochemical splitting of water. The splitting of water is the Holy Grail of photosynthesis. Once we understand the process and are able to replicate it, we may have the key to solving a large part of the energy problem.”
While the hotspots for photosynthesis research in the Netherlands are Wageningen and Amsterdam, it was decided to organise the congress in Maastricht, based on the facilities and the international position of the city.
The programme of the 17th International Congress on Photosynthesis and options for registering are available on the congress website: www.ps2016.com