Can better photosynthesis help feed the world?

As human population growth fuels the need for increased crop yields, researchers look to engineer plants that perform photosynthesis more efficiently.

February 20, 2019 — In the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park, layers of colorful bacteria grow in thick mats. Near the water’s surface, the green organisms photosynthesize like plants do, using light and chlorophyll to split water molecules and make sugar. Farther down in the mats, the microbes are black. Researchers long assumed that plant-like photosynthesis is not possible for this layer of organisms because they don’t have access to enough visible light. And yet, on the very bottoms of those algal mats is a layer of green where no green should be. So why is it here, where almost no light reaches?

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