(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers from the University of California, Riverside and the University of Delaware have overcome the most important hurdle in growing plants. They convinced them to grow completely without light.
The researchers were able to overcome the limitation of natural photosynthesis. Key to this process is the two-step conversion of carbon dioxide, electricity, and water into acetate, which plants can absorb and grow in total darkness.
Paired with solar panels to generate electricity, this method of growing food is said to be more than 18 times more efficient than conventional.
We sought to identify a new way of producing food that could overcome the limitations normally imposed by biological photosynthesis, says Robert Ginkerson, one of the study’s authors.
The photos that the research team provided to reporters show sprouts of tomatoes and beans at the initial stage of development.
However, it is not clear if they fruited or reached sufficient size . The pictures show only one thing: the method of growing without light really works.
If the method does indeed allow plants to grow to full size and bear fruit, then it opens up new possibilities for farmers that do not require outdoor planting or transparent greenhouses outside. Products can be grown indoors without exposing plants to damage from natural disasters or drought. And such premises will not even need to be illuminated when no one is in them.
Moving production from agricultural land to indoors will offer a chance to improve the food situation in those regions of the world where growing food is difficult or impossible due to environmental conditions.
In addition, making it easier to grow food can drastically lower food prices.
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