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About crops in a hotter, drier world.

Today is Wednesday, January 3, 2024.


Although new arable regions are emerging in Canada and the Russian Federation, more land, labor and chemicals are not sustainable options given the high probability that global warming will not slow down anytime soon.


An immediate response is investment in research and development, the search for new technologies as a means of mitigating and adapting crops to persistent climate and water stress.


In the field of agricultural innovation, there is a growing number of research and startups focusing on food production in these new conditions.


Regarding research, a few months ago we published "Green Patents and agriculture in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." on a nanocomposite that can fix agrochemical molecules on its surface, providing a slow release, longer lasting action and avoiding losses.


Regarding startups, we mention the following 3 cases. (If you have other examples, please share in the comments).


Colorful polymer tubes, panels, and cones placed on, above, or around plants or other crops to enhance photosynthesis.

With the mission of helping producers make better use of sunlight and more efficient use of water, among other benefits.

Already in use in the production of grapes (wine), avocado, citrus fruits and chestnuts, for example.


Electrodes that penetrate the plant and use machine learning to determine how the plant is reacting to the agricultural input.

“The contamination could be detected after just 2 days with an electrophysical sensor. This means a significant time saving compared to visual inspection.”


Competing with synthetic nitrogen, microbes are used to convert atmospheric nitrogen into nitrients for plants, throughout their development, regardless of what is happening around them.

Already in use in the production of corn, silage, wheat and sorghum.


Another very different front is related to photosynthesis itself. Take this case for example.


Artificial photosynthesis: fusion of photosynthetic life with solar cell.

Scientists at Arizona State University in the USA innovated the approach, creating a hybrid device, part living organism, part battery and part solar cell. The project seeks to understand the energy transfer process, in this case, in the connection between artificial energy and natural photosynthesis, "exploring the second half of the photosynthetic electron transport chain". According to researcher Christine Lewis "the objectives of the research are to have the ability to activate photosynthesis at will, eventually make it more efficient and produce stable energy products."


Click here for the work "Electrochemically Driven Photosynthetic Electron Transport in Cyanobacteria Lacking Photosystem II"* published at Journal of American Chemical Society 2022, 144, 7, 2933–2942


And at the image below to find out more in this article (in Portuguese) from Engenharia Compartilhada from March 2022.


Finally, it is worth highlighting that in 2022, around 27,260 applications for plant varieties were submitted worldwide for registration with WIPO - World Intellectual Property Organization, an increase of 8.2% compared to 2021 and the seventh consecutive year of growth.". Remember an article from a few days ago "Technological innovations, carbon methodologies and climate change."




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“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

“I am among those who think that science has great beauty”

Madame Marie Curie (1867 - 1934) Chemist & physicist. French, born Polish.

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