The benefits and drawbacks of the transition to domestication and intensified agriculture

In order to keep feeding people as the population grows you have to radically change the environment of the planet.

The benefits and drawbacks of the transition to domestication and intensified agriculture

Received Mar 14; Accepted May The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author s or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice.

No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract The development of a sustainable bio-based economy has drawn much attention in recent years, and research to find smart solutions to the many inherent challenges has intensified.

In nature, perhaps the best example of an authentic sustainable system is oxygenic photosynthesis.

The benefits and drawbacks of the transition to domestication and intensified agriculture

The biochemistry of this intricate process is empowered by solar radiation influx and performed by hierarchically organized complexes composed by photoreceptors, inorganic catalysts, and enzymes which define specific niches for optimizing light-to-energy conversion.

The success of this process relies on its capability to exploit the almost inexhaustible reservoirs of sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to transform photonic energy into chemical energy such as stored in adenosine triphosphate.

Oxygenic photosynthesis is responsible for most of the oxygen, fossil fuels, and biomass on our planet. So, even after a few billion years of evolution, this process unceasingly supports life on earth, and probably soon also in outer-space, and inspires the development of enabling technologies for a sustainable global economy and ecosystem.

The following review covers some of the major milestones reached in photosynthesis research, each reflecting lasting routes of innovation in agriculture, environmental protection, and clean energy production. Sustainability however does not come about by its own but requires dynamic and responsible actions to create and maintain a balance between society, environment, and economy.

In the next 10—20 years, a steady increase of the global population, continuous competition for land, water, and energy, and the worsening effects brought by climate change will be the three foremost science policy-determining factors.

It is mandatory however that this is done in an interdisciplinary way following a holistic approach. Photosynthesis is one of the most efficiently cycled and sustainable processes we know in Nature. This deceivingly simple process forms the basis for all the energy sources essential to life, from the intake of food to the burning of fossil fuels, and more recently, for the industrial production of value-added chemicals or bio-energy.

The benefits and drawbacks of the transition to domestication and intensified agriculture

Green plants, algae and cyanobacteria are able to oxidise water for photosynthesis and hence are oxygenic, in contrast to other phototrophs that use different electron donors, such as hydrogen sulfide. The splitting of water H2O giving off oxygen gas O2 is a complex event, requiring the absorption of solar energy by a set of aligned chlorophyll Chl pigments that as a result release electrons to convert CO2 to carbohydrates, a reaction known as carbon fixation.

The full process can be summarised in a single equation: However, natural optimization of the mechanism through a series of fine physical and biochemical modifications allowed adaptation of the process to specific ecological niches. This review reports on research inspired by photosynthesis, addressing global, environmental and societal issues related to crops improvement, eco-system homeostasis maintenance and clean energy production, with the aim to identify opportunities and challenges for sustainable innovation and development.

Photosynthesis at the forefront of a secure food supply The global demand of nutrition largely depends on photosynthesis efficiency. Presently achieved crop yields however lay far below the projected needs required to meet the predicted population growth, threatening global food security Fedoroff et al.

Current photosynthesis research is much inspired by the call for a sustainable agriculture and the tuning of food, feed, and energy production in respect to each other Nair, The main challenge however lays in increasing crop yields without encumbering land and water resources nor by burdening the environment with an excess of herbicides or nitrogen-rich manure.

Analyses of current knowledge and outputs of biochemical and microclimatic photosynthetic models indicate that, by exploiting variations of existing germplasms and by engineering photosynthesis Zhu et al.

The present section encompasses recent advances to increase the radiation-use efficiency RUE of crops, hence production yields, by overcoming natural photosynthetic limits and improving light perception. It involves a complex 5-step reaction, and is further complicated by electrostatic similarity between CO2 and O2, as well as regular enzyme inhibition and -reactivation Andersson and Backlund, Manipulation of RuBisCO's catalytic traits, modulation of its inhibition, or RA optimization were recognized as main targets in the struggle for the increase of crops yields Raines, ; Whitney et al.Technology.

The first article under this heading is devoted to a discussion of the impact of technology upon society and of conditions affecting technological change; the second article focuses upon the impact of technology upon international relations. We use cookies to make interactions with our website easy and meaningful, to better understand the use of our services, and to tailor advertising.

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demographers assert that the transition will fail in cultures that place larger value on childbirth or that grant women fewer freedoms Describe the effects of gender equity, women's status, education and family planning services on human population growth.

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Neolithic Revolution - Wikipedia