Julian Melchiorri, a Royal College of Art graduate, claims to have created an artificial biological functional leaf. “I extracted chloroplasts from plant cells and placed them inside this silk protein. As an outcome I have the first photosynthetic material that is living and breathing as a leaf does”. In other words, this artificial leaf can take in carbon dioxide, light and water to release oxygen.
One of the application is the production of oxygen in space that could handle the harsh environment of interstellar travel. Plants in fact just don’t like zero gravity environments, and toting around an indefinite oxygen supply isn’t really feasible.
Apart from space exploration, these leaves can be used for oxygen producing lampshades or for the ventilation systems in large buildings. Back here on Earth, they can be used as biological air filters or oxygen producers.
#nature #ecology #design