A bold plan to end climate change – by building better trees

Now it takes the same beginning in California, but now with poplar trees. In an unpublished peer -reviewed article first published on Feb. 19, scientists at Living Carbon said that by inserting new genes into poplar trees, they could increase growth. Plants were 53 percent faster than their treated counterparts. Both groups of trees were grown under controlled conditions that were very different from the native plants in the forest, but Hall suggested that the treated trees increase the tree planting program by pulling. to air carbon.

“We believe that climate change is a problem of inflation. It means something we can’t just solve with man -made processes such as seizing the air, ”he said. (Proper air capture means building devices that can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – or other methane -trapping substances – but in a new concept it could take 10,000 machines to convert CO.2 level.) Living Carbon’s ultimate business model is to plant its genetically engineered trees on land leased from private landowners, and then give it to the landowners. the money earned from the sale of carbon credits earned from the growth of trees.

When most plants photosynthesize, they release a toxic substance called phosphoglycolate, which they then need to use the energy to break down – a process called photorespiration. Living Carbon -edited plants get new genes from algae and pumpkin to help the plant use less energy to break down, and regenerate some of the sugar that is produced. by this process. This pathway is a clear goal for plant growth, said Yumin Tao, Living Carbon’s VP of biotechnology. “You give that product energy and nutrients for the growth of plants,” Tao said. The more the plants grow, the more carbon is captured.

Tao and his colleagues grew genetically engineered poplars for 21 weeks in a lab before harvesting and weighing them to see how much biomass they had collected. There is 53 percent more biomass on earth than untreated plants. Experiments also showed that processed plants had more carbon than their untreated counterparts.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Cavanagh, who didn’t participate in the Living Carbon research. But he says we don’t know if these drugs are better at storing carbon in the long run. Living Carbon poplars are harvested after only five months, but in the wild the trees can live more than 50 years. Only recent studies show whether mature trees continue to grow rapidly. They may be slow to grow, or they may be in poor health and fall and release all their carbon into the air when they decompose. “Do you see the same effect when planting at different stages of maturation, or will the plant fight again?” part of Cavanagh.

This will be tried soon. Living Carbon has planted 468 of its photosynthesis -enhanced trees in central Oregon, part of an ongoing experiment with Oregon State University. The group will look at how fast trees grow over time and how they work in different places. He also signed agreements to plant poplars made using a different technology on about 3,500 acres of private land in the U.S., with the first planters starting to start in the fall. 2022, according to Hall.

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