[extropy-chat] Nuke 'em

Acy James Stapp astapp at amazeent.com
Mon Oct 24 17:42:48 UTC 2005

Most plants are CO2 limited.


-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org
[mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Damien
Sent: Sunday, October 23, 2005 2:13 PM

On Sun, Oct 23, 2005 at 11:25:40AM -0700, Robert J. Bradbury wrote:

> > "Clearly plants are really inefficient and we can do better!"  But I

> > suspect the limiting factor is the low concentration of CO2; dealing

> > with a 300 ppm input can't be pretty.
> I think that may only be a small part of the problem.  For land plants

> like corn and vegetables, the problem is lack of complete coverage 
> (sunlight on soil doesn't help much).  Sugarcane and wheat are better 
> in this respect.  Part of the problem is incomplete absorption of the 
> solar energy.  Plants should *not* be green.  They should be black.  
> Obviously

A while back I read _Why Big Fierce Animals Are Rare_ by Paul Colinvaux,
an ecologist.  IIRC he said something like most plants get 8% in their
growth phase under optimal conditions.  They're all using the same
chloroplasts, after all.  Algae are just always in the growth phase.

More to the point, he said plants' energy efficiency in dim light is
often much higher, such as 20%.  This could be "evolved assuming shade"
but could also be a sign that energy isn't the limiting factor.  And
here's a question: to make a plant growing at high noon grow faster, do
you increase the intensity of light, or increase its CO2 concentration?

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