Academic Venture Fund - 2017

Photosynthesis for Farmers

African farmer walks across drought-stricken land

African farmers face severe agricultural risks from drought, floods, and disease outbreaks. Accurate early predictions can save lives. Relief initiatives like famine early warning systems and index-based agricultural insurance rely on satellite images that show farmland or pasture greenness, but do not directly measure photosynthesis--actual plant functioning. The researchers will develop a new framework to improve yield predictions and emergency response systems, using cutting-edge satellite chlorophyll fluorescence that can probe the molecular process of photosynthesis, including stress-induced degradation in crops.

Investigators: Ying Sun, Toby Ault, David Matteson, Yanyan Liu