Science Market Update

Plant Research Questions and Science Business Opportunities

Posted by BCI Staff on Mon, Sep 12, 2011

Pulling material from technical science publications that is directly applicable to the business of science marketplace is sometimes a challenge, however, here is a thought provoking publication by Greirson et al. that addresses something most of us rarely think about.

"Plants are fundamental to all life on Earth. They provide us with food, fuel, fiber, industrial feed stocks, and medicines. They render our atmosphere breathable. They buffer us against extremes of weather and provide food and shelter for much of the life on our planet. However, we take plants and the benefits they confer for granted."

Of the one hundred or so plant research questions posted, the critical 10 appear to revolve around human societies need for survival.

  • How do we feed our children’s children?
  • Which crops must be grown and which sacrificed, to feed the billions?
  •  When and how can we simultaneously deliver increased yields and reduce the environmental impact of agriculture?
  •  What are the best ways to control invasive species including plants, pests and pathogens?
  • Considering two plants obtained for the same trait, one by genetic modification and one by traditional plant breeding techniques, are there differences between those two plants that justify special regulation?
  • How can plants contribute to solving the energy crisis and ameliorating global warming?
  •  How do plants contribute to the ecosystem services upon which humanity depends?
  • What new scientific approaches will be central to plant biology in the 21st Century?
and some broader questions:
  • How do we ensure that society appreciates the full importance of plants?
  • How can we attract the best young minds to plant science so that they can address Grand Challenges facing humanity such as climate change, food security, and fossil fuel replacement?
  • How do we ensure that sound science informs policy decisions?
Plant research crops resized 600
In conclusion she points out: "Plant science is central to addressing many of the most important questions facing humanity. Secure food production and quality remain key issues for the world in the 21st Century, and the importance of plants extends well beyond agriculture and horticulture as we face declining fossil fuel reserves, climate change, and a need for more sustainable methods to produce fuel, fiber, wood, and industrial feed stocks. There is also untapped potential in optimizing the nutritional properties of foods, and in identifying novel plant products such as medicines. Tackling these frontiers will require new scientific methods and collaborations..."
In keeping with driving for a broader social reach, Dr. Greirson announced this publication on twitter: "Our paper is finally out! RT @NatureProtocols: wht R the most important questions in plant science research? ( (
Plant research opportunties resized 600
For the savvy entrepreneur, plant scientist or corporation there will be lots of opportunities in plant science.  To meet with Plant Research Scientists at top universities nationwide see the Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. schedule of upcoming academic research product shows. If you are a life scientist, life science supplier and would like to exhibit plant research tools to plant scientists

Tags: women in science, Life Science Funding, Plant science, Funding, Research Funding, industry news, Biomedical Research Funding

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