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Latest C3 carbon fixation Stories

Image 1 - How Drought-tolerant Grasses Came To Be
2011-11-25 04:28:54

New grass family tree reveals C4 photosynthesis is an evolutionary 1-way street If you eat bread stuffing or grain-fed turkey this Thanksgiving, give thanks to the grasses – a family of plants that includes wheat, oats, corn and rice. Some grasses, such as corn and sugar cane, have evolved a unique way of harvesting energy from the sun that's more efficient in hot, arid conditions. A new grass family tree reveals how this mode of photosynthesis came to be. The results may one day...

2011-05-12 22:12:16

"I have a slide that has a photo of a cornfield and a big photovoltaic array," says Robert Blankenship, a scientist who studies photosynthesis at Washington University in St. Louis. "When I give talks I often ask the audience which one is more efficient. Invariably the audience votes overwhelmingly in favor of photosynthesis. " They are wrong. This question and its surprising answer (below) is the point of departure for a provocative article published in the May 13 issue of Science. The...

2010-11-16 21:40:08

According to a popular hypothesis, grasses such as maize, sugar cane, millet and sorghum got their evolutionary start as a result of a steep drop in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels during the Oligocene epoch, more than 23 million years ago. A new study overturns that hypothesis, presenting the first geological evidence that the ancestors of these and other C4 grasses emerged millions of years earlier than previously established. The findings are published in the journal Geology. C4 plants...

2010-11-15 20:45:36

Innovative research technique reveals C4 grasses older than previously thought A new analysis of fossilized grass-pollen grains deposited on ancient European lake and sea bottoms 16-35 million years ago reveals that C4 grasses evolved earlier than previously thought. This new evidence casts doubt on the widely-held belief that the rise of this incredibly productive group of plants was driven by a large drop in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations during the Oligocene epoch. The...

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2010-06-22 14:36:51

Study raises concerns for agriculture In August of 2008 Jacob Schaefer, PhD, on vacation in San Diego, picked up a copy of the Los Angeles Times. As it happened, the newspaper was running a series on the wildfires in the western United States. The wildfires, he read, are more frequent "” they now occur every few years instead of every few decades "” and they are burning larger areas. The more intense fire cycle is fueled by cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), an invasive plant that is...