The Carbon-Capturing Plant Idea Won $3 Million

Our world is at a crossroads we need to do something, do something soon, to help the planet not get so hot that it becomes inhabitable.

A group of plant scientist are working to engineer a leafy green that could both feed the planet and suck carbon dioxide out of the air to curb climate change. 

The team’s carbon-capturing plant idea is based on a polymer called ‘Suberin.’It basically is a cork.

Suberin can store and retain carbon for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years in soil without biodegrading. A perennial plant with Suberin could therefore both purify the air and add more oxygen to the atmosphere.

The Scientist have already figured out new ways to grow mutant plant shoots without light. They made certain plants grow taller in the shade by exposing their seeds to DNA-altering chemicals, and discovered a new class of plant hormones called ‘brassinosteroids’.

In order for new plant creation to make a dent in global warming, the team estimates it’d need to take up 5% of the world’s cropland.

With that kind of space — a swath about the size of Egypt — the crop could capture 50% of current levels of global CO2 emissions from humans.

The team of scientist estimates it will take roughly ten years and $50 million dollars to make the protein-rich plant a reality.

Joanne Chory, the team lead has won the $3 million 2018 Breakthrough Prizes in life sciences, an award given out annually to scientists by Silicon Valley tycoons including Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg.

Reference- Futurism, Breakthrough Prizes website, Joanne Chory’s Research