By: Allie Arp
On October 29th, the Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) project will be featured on an episode of Follow the Food on BBC World News. Hosted by world-renowned ethnobotanist James Wong, the multimedia series focuses on the biggest pressures on the world food system including RIPE’s central mission of how to feed the growing population, and climate change, which is the focus of the current season.
“Follow the Food’s focus on how to feed the growing world population aligns perfectly with RIPE. Here, an international consortium of leading research labs are focussed on improving the process of photosynthesis in crops, so that more of the sunlight energy reaching crop fields is converted into increased harvests, and these innovations also better prepare crops for the changing climate,” said RIPE Director Stephen Long (BSD/CABBI/GEGC), Ikenberry Endowed University Chair of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology at the IGB.
RIPE, which is led by the University of Illinois, is engineering crops to be more productive by improving photosynthesis, the natural process all plants use to convert sunlight into energy and yields. RIPE is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research, and U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.
During a visit to Illinois this summer, RIPE Deputy Director Lisa Ainsworth (CABBI/GEGC) gave Wong a tour of several research plots and discussed how RIPE is working to improve the photosynthesis of crops to increase carbon intake.
“Every possible solution that we have for climate change needs to be addressed right now and we need to move as fast as we can,” said Ainsworth, a scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) based at IGB, while speaking with Wong.
The episode, “The Carbon Challenge”, is premiering on Friday, October 29th at 10:30 p.m. (CDT) on BBC World News and will be available afterward on the Follow the Food website. It will be replayed on Saturday, October 20th at 11:30 a.m. and Sunday, October 31st at 4:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Follow the Food will feature RIPE’s Carl Bernacchi (CABBI/GEGC), Research Plant Physiologist for USDA-ARS, in a future episode this season, where he will talk about ongoing rock dust projects and how research is being done to prepare food crops for the changing climate.
How to watch BBC News outside of the UK:
The episode will be made available on the BBC websites bbc.com/followthefood and bbc.com/reel. BBC World News is also available in the US from numerous television service providers, as well as a number of streaming services. Contact your specific provider for more details.
RIPE is led by the University of Illinois in partnership with The Australian National University, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Lancaster University, Louisiana State University, University of California, Berkeley, University of Cambridge, University of Essex, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
By: Allie Arp