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New tech betters plants' capacity to intake carbon

Mar 06, 2017, 6:37 AM EST
(Source: Carbon Visuals/flickr)
(Source: Carbon Visuals/flickr)

A team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Germany has discovered a new way to radically boost the capacity of plants to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The research, which involved re-engineering of 17 different enzymes from nine different organisms, holds the potential to tide over the menacing levels of carbon emissions and climate change. 

With their existing biology, plants can absorb about 5 to 10 molecules of CO2 per second but the new mechanism reengineers the enzymes to consume up to 80 CO2 molecules in a second, notes Seeker.

Tobias Erb, one of the researchers in the project, said that synthetic biology can tremendously enhance carbon absorption rate in plants, adding that the reengineered enzymes can also be used to cultivate artificial leaves that can fix atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The method has been successfully tested in the laboratory but the real-life results will be visible once the technology is trialed in the natural environment, writes Science Alert. However, experts believe that the development has advanced the possibilities for systems biology, offering new hope for containing the threat of irreversible climate change. 

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