New research shows that chemicals leached from ocean plastic impair the growth and oxygen production of the planet's most abundant photosynthesiser - endangering marine ecosystems and the climate.
How to grow microalgae to perfection.
Pétur Már Gunnarsson
Soybean cultivation for animal feed is destroying rainforests across the world. Microalgae may be the Amazon's closest ally.
Move over Benedict Cumberbatch, there's another oddly shaped pale figure stealing the limelight.
A farmer shows smaller-than-usual soybeans harvested due to drought conditions in Tallapoosa, Georgia.
AP Photo/David Goldman
Many of the crop plants that feed us waste 20 percent of their energy, especially in hot weather. Plant geneticists prove that capturing this energy could boost crop yields by up to 40 percent.
A 3D rendering of an orange carotenoid protein, whose secrets are slowly being unlocked.
When two proteins interact with each other they behave in their own molecular lives.
Some sneaky plants steal food instead of exclusively making their own.
Since plants can't pick up and move to greener pastures if conditions are tough, some have evolved interesting and sneaky strategies to make a living.
Cyanobacteria filled the ancient oceans and used chlorophyll to harvest the sun’s energy.
Did you recently hear news that Earth's oldest pigments were hot pink? That's not quite right. When they were in living bacteria a billion years ago, they were performing photosynthesis – and green.
Understanding how certain proteins deal with light absorption can inspire modern solar technology.
Proteins guard their secrets closely, but once you get them to "sing", there's an enormous amount to learn.
Genetically engineered tobacco plants growing in a greenhouse.
As the climate changes and the population grows, meeting the demand for food will become more difficult as arable land declines. But an international team of scientists has figured out an innovative solution to dramatically bumping up crop yields.
Long’s Peak framed by rock outcrop, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
Scientists have long thought most nitrogen in Earth's ecosystems comes from the air, but new research shows it also is released as rocks weather. This could boost plant growth and help sequester carbon – but not fast enough to avert climate change, as some pundits have claimed.
New research finds more CO₂ can actually make most plants smaller in the long-term - but the story for crops isn't so simple.
The leaves of most plants are green because the leaves are full of green chemicals.
Marcella Cheng/The Conversation
This is an article from Curious Kids, a series for children. The Conversation is asking kids to send in questions they’d like an expert to answer. All questions are welcome – serious, weird or wacky! Why…
Diatoms - like those seen under a microscope here - can teach us a lot about harvesting light.
Diatoms' tricks may offer new insights that keep solar cell energy running efficiently and robustly throughout their processes.
“Snowball Earth” happened around 700 million years ago.
Earth's thermostat can fail spectacularly at times. Around 700 million years ago, huge volcanic eruptions triggered "Snowball Earth".
Once the coat around the seed is moistened, the embryo cells expand and burst out in a process called germination.
A seed contains nearly everything a tree needs to get growing. Just add a dash of water, a bit of warmth and the right location, and you'll be seeing green in no time.
If harnessed properly, the sun holds tremendous potential to provide sustainable energy for the earth.
Cassava makes up nearly 50 percent of the diet in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, where populations are projected to increase by more than 120 percent in the next 30 years.
CIAT International Center for Tropical Agriculture
Cassava is a key food source in tropical countries, but yields have been flat for decades. New genetic research is identifying many options for boosting production of this valuable staple crop.
Photosynthesis can teach scientists a lot about solar technologies.
Individual light-harvesting protein complexes have a remarkable ability. Light, which is normally effectively harvested, is also used to finely control how much of it should be harvested.
Green planet: tropical rainforests have produced more growth in response to rising carbon dioxide.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr
Half of the world's vegetated land has got greener in the past 30 years, mostly driven by rising CO2.
You know what, I think we looked better before.
There are solar-power sea slugs, so why haven't humans mastered the art of photosynthesis?