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      HOW THEY DID IT — To grow plants without sunlight, researchers created a hybrid inorganic–biological system for food production. They first used a two-step electrocatalytic process to convert carbon dioxide, electricity, and water into a semi-synthetic material called acetate. Then, in the dark, they fed plants the acetate.

      Experiments revealed that a variety of food-producing organisms, including green algae, yeast, and mushrooms, could be grown in the dark using acetate. Crop plants, too, may be able to feed on acetate. Rice, lettuce, and tomatoes could, in the future, be farmed moreefficiently without sunlight than with it.


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