THE SILK LEAF / MAN-MADE BIOLOGICAL LEAF
The Silk Leaf, by RCA graduate Julian Melchiorri, is the first manmade material that can perform photosynthesis. It has huge implications for science and technology and it could also make long-distance space travel a possibility. The leaf contains chloroplasts taken from real plant cells. These are suspended in a silk protein material extracted directly from the fibers of silk, which has an amazing property of stabilizing molecules. When the leaf comes into contact with water and light, it converts it to oxygen, just like a natural leaf. At the moment, there isn’t a system that can provide astronauts with enough oxygen to travel far into Space. Melchiorri’s invention could be the answer to this problem, by converting water and artificial light into the oxygen that astronauts need to survive. The material could also transform cities, making buildings capable of generating their own oxygen.
INDEX: Design to Improve Life®
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