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posted: 12/12/2012 8:34 AM

U. of Ill. Study to focus on food-crop production

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Researchers at the University of Illinois will use a $25 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to study plant photosynthesis to see if food-crop production can be increased.

Stephen Long is the project director and a professor of crop sciences and plant biology at the university. Long says food security figures to be a major global challenge in the decades ahead. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that the production of staple crops such as rice will have to increase by 70 percent to meet demand.

Researchers over the next five years plan to see whether photosynthesis can be made more efficient.

Long says that if photosynthesis can be made more efficient then the question will be whether that will boost production.

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