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Rows of soybean plants with green leaves beneath a partially clouded sky with the rising sun in the background.
As Carbon Dioxide Goes Up, Plants’ Nutrient Content Declines
Abundant environmental CO2 can increase plant biomass and photosynthesis, but it has downsides for agriculture and ecosystems, a growing body of research finds.
As Carbon Dioxide Goes Up, Plants’ Nutrient Content Declines
As Carbon Dioxide Goes Up, Plants’ Nutrient Content Declines

Abundant environmental CO2 can increase plant biomass and photosynthesis, but it has downsides for agriculture and ecosystems, a growing body of research finds.

Abundant environmental CO2 can increase plant biomass and photosynthesis, but it has downsides for agriculture and ecosystems, a growing body of research finds.

photosynthesis
Tree with many scattered branches.
Scientists Resurrect Ancient Rubiscos to Understand Their Evolution
Alejandra Manjarrez, PhD | Oct 14, 2022 | 5 min read
A team proposes that the addition of a small accessory subunit to the carbon-fixing enzyme was key to improving its catalytic properties and specificity to CO2.
Neuro collage
Our Favorite Neuroscience Stories of 2021
Chloe Tenn | Dec 29, 2021 | 4 min read
From a Nobel prize and photosynthesis-powered brains to neurodegeneration research and controversy over a new Alzheimer’s drug, a look back at some of the biggest brain-related developments of the year.
The head of a tadpole is pictured. Its eye is black, but the rest of its head is various shades of green
Scientists Use Photosynthesis to Power an Animal’s Brain
Abby Olena, PhD | Oct 13, 2021 | 3 min read
Injecting oxygen-generating algae into tadpoles allows brain activity to continue in the absence of oxygen, researchers find.
Proterocladus antiquus green algae evolution photosynthesis nanfen formation
Oldest Green Algae Fossil Discovered in China
Kerry Grens | Feb 25, 2020 | 2 min read
The 1-billion-year-old impressions have features similar to modern algae and indicate that photosynthesizing plants evolved at least that long ago.
ants symbiotic plants
Image of the Day: Farming Ants
Amy Schleunes | Jan 22, 2020 | 2 min read
Evolution imbued ants with an agriculture strategy that optimizes food rewards.
Photos of the Year
Emily Makowski | Dec 26, 2019 | 2 min read
From bubbling plants to endangered whales, here are some amazing images from The Scientist in 2019.
Image of the Day: Bubbling Plants
Emily Makowski | Nov 18, 2019 | 1 min read
Plants use two different strategies to photosynthesize underwater.
Infographic: Open and shut
Chia-Yi Hou | Sep 1, 2019 | 1 min read
Researchers devise a way to make plants’ stomata open and close more quickly.
A Synthetic Ion Channel Makes Plants Grow Faster
Chia-Yi Hou | Sep 1, 2019 | 3 min read
Arabidopsis with guard cells modified by a light-activated potassium ion channel can open and close stomata more quickly, conserving water.
Oceanic Bacteria Trap Vast Amounts of Light Without Chlorophyll
Abby Olena, PhD | Aug 8, 2019 | 3 min read
Microbes that dwell in nutrient-poor waters use a photopigment called retinal to harvest energy from sunshine at levels at least equal to those stored by chlorophyll-based systems.
atmosphere atmospheric microbe microbes photosynthesis France cloud rain microbiology algae cyanobacteria
Clouds and Rain Carry a Menagerie of Photosynthetic Microbes
Chia-Yi Hou | Jun 24, 2019 | 2 min read
Microbiologists identify diatoms, algae, and cyanobacteria species from samples above a mountaintop in France.
Quantum Biology
Quantum Biology May Help Solve Some of Life’s Greatest Mysteries
Catherine Offord | Jun 1, 2019 | 10+ min read
From the remarkable speed of enzyme-catalyzed reactions to the workings of the human brain, numerous biological puzzles are now being explored for evidence of quantum effects.
quantum biology infographic
Infographic: Quantum Explanations for Biological Phenomena
Catherine Offord | Jun 1, 2019 | 4 min read
Weird effects on the scale of subatomic particles may play roles in enzyme catalysis, photosynthesis, and avian magnetoreception.
Genetically Engineered Tobacco Does Photosynthesis More Efficiently
Carolyn Wilke | Jan 4, 2019 | 1 min read
The modification beefed up plant biomass by 40 percent in field tests.
Image of the Day: Multiple Choice
Sukanya Charuchandra | Jun 19, 2018 | 1 min read
Photosynthesis can happen in more than one way.  
Image of the Day: Artificial Cell
Sukanya Charuchandra | May 31, 2018 | 1 min read
Researchers made a synthetic cell that can photosynthesize and make proteins crucial for cellular structure. 
Long-Term Study Reveals Flip in Plant Responses to Carbon Dioxide
Catherine Offord | Apr 20, 2018 | 2 min read
The 20-year project calls into question the conventional wisdom about the role plants will play in mitigating future climate change.
Light Scattering Varies Among Corals
Ashley P. Taylor | Jul 13, 2017 | 3 min read
A new study reports which types of corals make the most of the sunlight they receive. 
Bright Lights and Bacteria Treat Rats’ Heart Attacks
Ruth Williams | Jun 14, 2017 | 3 min read
Injecting photosynthetic microbes into oxygen-starved heart tissue can improve cardiac function in rodents. 
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