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Bionic leaf turns sunlight into on-site bio-fertilizer

Apr 04, 2017, 6:06 AM EDT
(Source: Sunny M5/flickr)
(Source: Sunny M5/flickr)

Researchers at Harvard University have created a system that replicates natural photosynthesis with 50 percent more efficiency, turning sunlight into fertilizer directly into the soil. The technology could be a godsend for many impoverished countries where millions of people suffer from extreme hunger.

Lead researcher Dr. Daniel Nocera says the technique “bottles up” sunlight to create a form of bio-plastic, capable of absorbing nitrogen from the air and converting it into ammonia, a potent fertilizing agent, reports Tech Seeker.

Modern agriculture relies heavily on commercial fertilizers, which are produced in large-scale, expensive industrial facilities. The bionic leaf technology, however, aims to empower small, poor farmers in sub-Saharan Africa or rural India helping them produce their own on-site fertilizer and get 50-60 percent higher yield.

Nocera revealed his plans to work with developing countries towards adapting the technology for possible commercial applications, notes Harvard gazette.

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