Removing, managing, and storing greenhouse gases

MIT Faculty and Researchers

Edward Boyden (lead), Matthew Shoulders (lead), Fábio Duarte, Claire Gorman, Robert Wilson

External Collaborators

George Church (Harvard University), Max Schubert (Harvard Medical School), Ahmed Badran (The Scripps Research Institute), Jesse Lou (Harvard Business School)

Research summary

The climate emergency is also an agriculture emergency. Climate change is on track to severely decrease crop productivity, creating a food and energy crisis and force the continued global expansion of agricultural land to meet rising demand. Such expansion, into over a billion hectares of wild habitat, would release hundreds of gigatons of additional CO2-equivalents over the next 30 years. This project identifies two paths to improve the productivity and climate-resiliency of agriculture, offsetting these effects and even allowing reduction in land usage. First, fast-growing photosynthetic algae could produce food using thousands of times less land, in a climate-resilient way. Are these microbes the climate-resistant food of the future? Second, rising temperatures directly impede the CO2 fixation enzyme Rubisco. Engineering temperature resilient Rubisco will create climate resilient crops with improved yields up to 50 percent. This project will use new advances in directed evolution and synthetic biology to rapidly progress these two platforms and the synergy between them.

download factsheet

Get involved


Contact Edward Boyden:

Other MIT Initiatives