Jane Langdale. Radical Ag: C4 Rice and Beyond

Filmed at the Long Now Foundation, March 2016.

Revolutionary rice

jlFeeding the world (and saving nature) in this populous century, Jane Langdale began, depends entirely on agricultural efficiency—the ability to turn a given amount of land and sunlight into ever more food. And that depends on three forms of efficiency in each crop plant: 1) interception efficiency (collecting sunlight); 2) conversion efficiency (turning sunlight into sugars and starch); and 3) partitioning efficiency (maximizing the edible part). Of these, after centuries of plant breeding, only conversion efficiency is far short of the theoretical maximum. Most photosynthesis (called “C3“) is low-grade, poisoning its own process by reacting with oxygen instead of carbon dioxide when environmental conditions are hot and dry.

Video (90 min) filmed at the Long Now Foundation, March 2016.