Plant proteins can help solve global food, fuel problems

San Diego, May 3 (IANS) Scientists have shown that certain proteins in plants that function as transporters can help solve global fuel and food problems, a study says.

New discoveries of the way plants transport important substances across their biological membranes to resist toxic metals and pests, increase salt and drought tolerance, control water loss and store sugar can have profound implications for increasing the supply of food and energy for our rapidly growing global population.

That is the conclusion of 12 leading plant biologists from around the world, whose laboratories recently discovered important properties of plant transport proteins that, collectively, can have a profound impact on global agriculture, reports Science Daily.

They report in the May 2 issue of the journal Nature that their findings can help the world meet its increasing demand for food and fuel as the global population grows from seven billion people to an estimated nine billion by 2050.

“These membrane transporters are a class of specialised proteins that plants use to take up nutrients from the soil, transport sugar and resist toxic substances like salt and aluminum,” said Julian Schroeder, a professor of biology at UC San Diego.

Schroeder brought together 11 other scientists from Australia, Japan, Mexico, Taiwan, the US and Britain to collaborate on a paper describing how their discoveries collectively could be used to enhance sustainable food and fuel production.

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