PhD candidate Florence Danila and Duncan Fitzpatrick measuring. Photo by Dr Elena Martin-Avila.

PhD candidate Florence Danila and Duncan Fitzpatrick measuring photosynthesis. Photo by Dr Elena Martin-Avila.

Creating the future of food

To feed a growing global world, major scientific breakthroughs are needed.

NATALIA BATEMAN VARGAS, GradDipScComm (Hons) '05 takes a look at how a new research centre aims to boost the key food producing process of photosynthesis.

In a world that will have nine billion people by 2050, and where more than 850 million people go hungry each day, the need to put together the best experts, facilities and technologies to find innovative solutions to meet the increasing demand for food has become urgent.

Food security is an essential part of the world's future.

It depends on agriculture's ability to grow nutritious food and to supply to an increased community.

Around the world, more than two-thirds of the land currently under cultivation is at risk of degrading so plant science has to tackle a range of challenges to feed the world.

The recently launched Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre for Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis, which has its main centre at the state-of the art plant science facilities at ANU, is a joint effort to explore ways to maximise the efficiency of photosynthesis in major food crops.

Photosynthesis, arguably the most important biological process on Earth, provides us with oxygen and food.

Plant scientists have found that manipulating it has a huge potential to increase world food supply.