can anything be planted without relying on photosynthesis? Science has found out how. Yes, you can produce food without using sunlight. Artificial photosynthesis is the solution.
Photosynthesis converts water, carbon dioxide and energy from sunlight into plant biomass and the food we eat. New research, published in Nature Food, breaks new ground.
No biological limits
It uses an electrocatalytic process to convert carbon dioxide, electricity and water into acetate. This is the form of the main component of vinegar. Food-producing organisms then consume acetate in the dark to grow. Increases the efficiency of converting sunlight into food. Up to 18 times more efficient.
“We wanted to produce food without being limited by biological photosynthesis.” So said Robert Jinkerson, a professor of chemical and environmental engineering at UC Riverside, in a statement.
Electrolyzers use electricity to convert raw materials such as carbon dioxide into useful molecules and products. The amount of acetate produced increased while the amount of salt used decreased.
“Therefore, we were able to achieve high selectivity toward acetate. This is not reached through conventional CO2 electrolysis routes.”
Experiments proved that. A wide range of food-producing organisms can be grown in the dark. Including green algae, yeast and fungal mycelium that produces mushrooms. Producing yeast is 18 times more efficient than the typical form, with sugar extracted from corn.
Sowing in the dark
“We don’t use biological photosynthesis. So, the technology is a more efficient method of converting solar energy into food,” they said. The potential of employing this technology to grow plants was investigated. Thus, cowpea, tomato, tobacco, rice, canola and green pea were tested. All were able to utilize acetate carbon when grown in the dark.
Food can now be produced without using sunlight. Agriculture can be freed from total dependence on the sun. Artificial photosynthesis opens the door to countless possibilities.