Sustainable bio-energy and bio-based products
The use of fossil resources, like coal and petrol, results in a net increase of atmospheric CO2, which reinforces climate change. Plants have the unique ability to capture CO2 from the atmosphere and convert it into biomass. This makes sustainably grown and processed plants a renewable and environmentally friendly resource for biofuels and biochemicals. Plants that are specifically tailored to suit industrial processing are an extremely valuable asset for tomorrow’s bio-based society.
Climate resilient crops
Climate change is one of the most serious threats humanity has ever faced. Developing crops that are more tolerant to rapidly changing and harsher environments, where there are water shortage and elevated temperatures, for example, will be crucial for tomorrow’s food production. Green biotechnology, together with other innovative strategies to adapt current agricultural approaches, offers solutions to maintain high food productivity while preserving the earth’s valuable ecosystems.
Nature has provided us with a wealth of plant species that have evolved to cope with harsh environments. Genetic variation as a driver for this diversity can lead us to solutions for plant production in a changing environment. Thanks to the genomics revolution, we now have the tools at hand to fully grasp this potential. The opportunity to mine breeding stocks and seed banks brings with it the obligation to help protect them.
Innovative crop care
Crops are under continuous threats, which jeopardize food production. Innovative solutions that optimize crop productivity and quality with a minimal impact on the environment are needed. This involves a plethora of strategies, including the study of the rhizosphere, the use of beneficial microorganisms, crop imaging for precision agriculture, diagnosis tools for crop traits, and the identification of novel growth regulators.
Plants and human health
Food has a huge impact on our health and on disease prevention; a balanced diet is essential for a healthy body. This depends not only on safely produced grains, vegetables and fruits, but also on sufficient intake of vitamins and minerals, and access to health-promoting molecules. Research on plant metabolic pathways is needed to produce food sources or plant-derived products that will benefit public health.