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Man-made 'breathing' leaf developed

Posted on Thursday, 31 July, 2014 | Comment icon 11 comments

The technology is able to produce oxygen just like real leaves. Image Credit: sxc.hu
The invention is able to convert water and sunlight in to oxygen the same way as a real leaf does.
Created by Royal College of Art graduate Julian Melchiorri, the remarkable new leaf consists of chloroplasts, where photosynthesis occurs, suspended in a silk protein body.

Despite being man-made, the technology is biologically functional and can perform the same processes as natural leaves.

"This material has an amazing property of stabilizing (the chloroplast) organelles," said Melchiorri. "As an outcome I have the first photosynthetic material that is living and breathing as a leaf does."

The invention should prove particularly useful in the field of space exploration where finding viable and efficient ways of producing enough oxygen for astronauts on long voyages has proven to be consistently challenging for scientists.

The technology could even be used to sustain humans living on Mars in the not-too-distant future.

Source: CNET.com | Comments (11)

Tags: Leaf, Photosynthesis

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by Myster0n on 31 July, 2014, 13:12
What an invention - the next holy-grail in technology bio-mechanism/ tech! Bet this will go underground and wont hear anything thing on it for decades!!! Would love to follow this and it's development.
Comment icon #3 Posted by paperdyer on 31 July, 2014, 13:54
We need to see if this some semi-porous building material or coating. That way when it rains, the buildings can put oxygen back into the air. May help with the air pollution in major cities. Corrected typo.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Dark_Grey on 31 July, 2014, 14:00
I would wrap my whole house in a membrane of this stuff. So cool
Comment icon #5 Posted by Sombra on 31 July, 2014, 14:21
The article doesn't mention but... do we need real leaves to produce the man-made leaves? How the organelles (chloroplasts) were obtained by the inventor? Another point: The article suggests that it should be applied to facades of buildings and lampshades, but for how long a chloroplast live outside a plant cell (even inside one)? I think that there is a looooong road ahead, but at least we are starting to walk toward something very useful for mankind. Regards.
Comment icon #6 Posted by keithisco on 31 July, 2014, 16:56
What is not mentioned is whether or not it could cope with the Solar Radiation if it is deployed outside a human habitat. Within a human habitat you would have to carefully regulate its output so that the level of oxygen produced does not poison the entire crew. Is this simply another means of producing oxygen from Water? If so then the technology is already in place.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Calibeliever on 31 July, 2014, 18:09
There's also the small bit that photosynthesis needs water to happen. H2O is required to make the O ...
Comment icon #8 Posted by danielost on 1 August, 2014, 0:25
A real leaf doesn't make oxygen it makes singer from co2 and sunlight, o2 is a waste product. When his leaf can make sugrr then I'll be impressed.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Rose-Red Howler on 1 August, 2014, 1:15
Is this an experiment to make new fabrics? If so then if would help to ventilate rooms.
Comment icon #10 Posted by :PsYKoTiC:BeHAvIoR: on 1 August, 2014, 13:17
Notably public bathrooms.
Comment icon #11 Posted by RaymondEternal on 4 August, 2014, 13:11
This is a big WTF!

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