New research shows low doses of hydrogen sulfide could boost plant production

April 22, 2013 |

In Washington state, new University of Washington research shows that in low doses, hydrogen sulfide could greatly enhance plant growth, leading to a sharp increase in global food supplies and plentiful stock for biofuel production. The most significant near-term promise is in growing algae and other stock for biofuels. Plant lipids are the key to biofuel production, and preliminary tests show that the composition of lipids in hydrogen sulfide-treated plants is the same as in untreated plants. When plants grow to larger-than-normal size, they typically do not produce more cells but rather elongate their existing cells. However, in the treatment with hydrogen sulfide, he found that the cells actually got smaller and there were vastly more of them. That means the plants contain significantly more biomass for fuel production.

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