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Algae’s ability to photosynthesise boosted by light-harvesting plastic

The green structures inside these algae strands contain the chlorophyll used in photosynthesis

KARL GAFF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRAR

Adding a synthetic polymer to algae has been shown to increase the rate of photosynthesis, which could lead to more efficient biofuels. If the technique is found to be effective in other plants, it could help us produce more crops.

Less than five per cent of the sunlight any plant absorbs is typically converted into energy. To see how we might make that process more efficient, Shu Wang at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and his colleagues fused a light-harvesting polymer …