A New Theory of Photosynthesis

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Ken Bellamy of Prime Carbon explains his new theory of photosynthesis at the Carbon Farming Conference & Expo held at Orange NSW Australia on 4-5 November, 2009, the only conference of its kind in the world.

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  • Thank MC Acknowledge distinguished delegates Officially launch the Prime Carbon Soil trading Program
  • Soil Carbon Sequestration is the only solution that: can be implemented quickly enough that can make sufficient impact addresses the legacy emissions currently in the atmosphere ….2 degree increase (6 degree?)….other solutions only focus on reducing future emissions addresses the key impacts of Climate Change by buffering against drought, heat stress and uncontrolled erosion In addition …. SCS does not stop us using our Agricultural land to product food.
  • In operation for 2 years Formerly known as Townsville Carbon Exchange Pty Ltd
  • Prime Carbon is the Operating Entity within the Carbon Townsville Community Cluster
  • Introduce Ken Bellamy our Founder and Technical Advisor ... Advise that Ken has been working in the area of soil carbon for the past 12 years both within Australian and Overseas. Highlight that Ken will be providing a technical overview of the products that assist this 1% increase to occur later in the day.
  • Highlight, although this is our official launch the program has been operational since July and the company in business for close to 2 years.
  • Highlight that Ken is speaking later in the day on “Approved Products”
  • A New Theory of Photosynthesis

    1. 1. Photosynthesis: fixing carbon and making water Ken Bellamy
    2. 2. <ul><li>Introduction to photosynthesis </li></ul><ul><li>Green plant photosynthesis </li></ul><ul><li>Bacterial photosynthesis </li></ul><ul><li>Comparison of plant and bacterial photosynthesis </li></ul><ul><li>Photosynthesis and the environment: new directions </li></ul>
    3. 3. Introduction to photosynthesis <ul><li>A process by which certain organisms are able to convert available light energy into carbohydrate energy </li></ul><ul><li>Organisms that can photosynthesise include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Green plants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some algae and bacteria </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Green plant photosynthesis <ul><li>The process comprises a number of chemical reactions that can be simplified down to: </li></ul><ul><li>However, it is a complex process made up of three stages…… </li></ul> Light energy 6CO 2 + 12H 2 O C 6 H 12 O 6 + 6O 2 + 6H 2 O carbon dioxide (from the atmosphere) water sugars Subsequently, these sugars will be broken down into carbon and water. (6C + 6H 2 0) oxygen water
    5. 5. Green plant photosynthesis <ul><li>In fact this common formula is a summary of two formulae which contains a huge “if” </li></ul><ul><li>Light Reactions: </li></ul><ul><li>2 H 2 O + 2 NADP + + 2 ADP + 2 P i + light -> </li></ul><ul><li>2 NADPH + 2 H + + 2 ATP + O 2 </li></ul><ul><li>Dark Reactions: </li></ul><ul><li>3 CO 2 + 9 ATP + 6 NADPH + 6 H + -> C 3 H 6 O 3 -phosphate + 9 ADP + 8 P i + 6 NADP + + 3 H 2 O </li></ul><ul><li>The second phase happens only if there is extra ATP available to the plant </li></ul>
    6. 6. 1(a) Harvesting of solar energy <ul><li>Solar energy is harvested within plant cell organelles (chloroplasts) with light absorbing pigments (chlorophyll α ) </li></ul><ul><li>Harvesting occurs when 1 molecule of pigment absorbs 1 photon and loses an electron </li></ul><ul><li>A subsequent series of electron transfers produce an energy storage protein – NADPH and the concurrent synthesis of another energy storage protein ATP </li></ul>
    7. 7. 1(b) Pigment molecules obtain their lost electron <ul><li>Pigment molecules absorb photons by losing an electron </li></ul><ul><li>This electron must be replaced to continue photon absorption </li></ul><ul><li>The replacement electron is sourced from water within a specialised region of the chloroplast – the Reaction Centre – and O 2 is a byproduct </li></ul>
    8. 8. 2 Stored energy is used to reduce CO 2 into carbohydrate <ul><li>CO 2 is captured from the atmosphere </li></ul><ul><li>The reduction of CO 2 into glucose sugars uses stored energy which was produced during the light reactions (ATP and NADPH) </li></ul><ul><li>This process is generally called the Calvin cycle, and occurs in the stroma of chloroplasts </li></ul><ul><li>One complete cycle fixes one molecule of CO 2 </li></ul><ul><li>6 complete cycles of this reaction fixes enough CO 2 to make one molecule of glucose       </li></ul>
    9. 9. 3 Carbon is fixed and water is produced <ul><li>As the glucose is metabolised by the plant it breaks down into carbon and water </li></ul><ul><li>Carbon is the basic building block for plant cells </li></ul><ul><li>Water is a transport medium within plants, maintains cell turgidity and is essential for biochemical processes </li></ul>
    10. 10. Plant photosynthesis summarised
    11. 11. So, in green plant photosynthesis…. <ul><li>Inputs are solar energy (photons), carbon dioxide (6CO 2 ) and water (12H 2 O) </li></ul><ul><li>Which results in </li></ul><ul><li>Outputs of sugars (C 6 H 12 O 6 ) </li></ul><ul><li>And these sugars are broken down into carbon (6C) and water (6H 2 O) </li></ul><ul><li>The ultimate outputs of photosynthesis in green plants are oxygen (6O 2 ), carbon (6C) and water (12H 2 O) </li></ul><ul><li>Note that the process does not consume water – the net input (12H 2 O) and output (12H 2 O) of water are the same </li></ul>
    12. 12. Bacterial photosynthesis <ul><li>Bacteria also photosynthesise: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Oxygenic phototrophs (blue-green algae – similar to green plant photosynthesis with chlorophyll α pigment) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anoxygenic phototrophs (purple, green sulfur and non-sulfur bacteria) – pigments comprise B chlorophyll and caratenoids </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Within the soil, they occur at depths up to ~20cm and access different wavelengths of light at different depths </li></ul>
    13. 13. Bacterial photosynthesis <ul><li>Phototropic bacteria use a different process of electron replacement and a simpler process of electron transfer </li></ul><ul><li>Water is not required to reactivate the reaction centres (ie water is not the electron source) </li></ul><ul><li>Instead, they oxidise inorganic (and organic) materials to derive energy and fix carbon </li></ul><ul><li>Common electron donors include sulfide, elemental sulfur, hydrogen, and organic compounds </li></ul> Light energy 6CO 2 + 12H 2 ’ A ’ C 6 H 12 O 6 + 6’ A ’ 2 + 6H 2 O
    14. 14. Example: hydrogen sulfide as electron donor <ul><li>In this type of photosynthesis, no O 2 is formed, since hydrogen sulfide (H 2 S) is used as an H + electron source instead of H 2 O. </li></ul><ul><li>(examples: green sulfur bacteria and purple sulfur bacteria) </li></ul><ul><li>Although water is not required as an input, this process still produces water. </li></ul><ul><li>CONSEQUENTLY, BACTERIAL PHOTOSYNTHESIS GENERATES A NET INCREASE IN WATER </li></ul>Light energy 6CO 2 + 12H 2 S C 6 H 12 O 6 + 6S 2 + 6H 2 O carbon dioxide (from the atmosphere) Hydrogen sulfide sugars Subsequently, these sugars will be broken down into carbon and water. (6C + 6H 2 0) sulfur water
    15. 15. … a quick comparison
    16. 16. A prerequisite for photosynthesis? <ul><li>Light energy is temporarily stored as ATP and NADPH </li></ul><ul><li>ATP and NADPH are made available to the organism via: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Production by the organism undergoing photosynthesis; and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Presence in the environment as an outcome of photosynthesis occurring in other organisms </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Both scenarios need an “elemental ingredient”… </li></ul><ul><li>Phosphorus </li></ul><ul><li>Hence, phosphorus supply to plants is essential </li></ul><ul><li>Bacterial photosynthesis within the soil may be a significant source of of ATP and NADPH used in plants – indicating a symbiotic relationship between these photosynthesising organisms </li></ul>
    17. 17. Photosynthesis and the environment: new directions <ul><li>Plant based photosynthesis is well understood </li></ul><ul><li>The environmental implications of bacterial photosynthesis have not, until recently, been appreciated fully </li></ul><ul><li>Bacterial photosynthesis constitutes an important and sustainable means of water production within surface soils – particularly within the contexts of a changing climate and depleted soils. </li></ul>
    18. 18. Soil Enhancement and Carbon Sequestration Program
    19. 19. A message from Professor Tim Flannery: 2007 Australian of the Year and Chair of the Copenhagen Climate Council Tim Flannery: 19th May, 2008 “ Regardless of what happens to emissions in the future, there is already far too much greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Cutting emissions is not enough. Mankind now has to take greenhouse gases out of the air.” &quot;The current burden of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is in fact more than sufficient to cause catastrophic climate change. It's extremely urgent.“
    20. 20. 10 20 30 40 50 Years Soil Forests Clean Coal Nuclear Wind Solar The World has 10 Years to do something serious about Global Warming- STERN REPORT / NASA QuickTime™ and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture. Slide courtesy of Michael Kiely Why Soil Carbon Sequestration... ...is the solution
    21. 21. What does Carbon Sequestration Mean? Soil Carbon Sequestration simply means the capture of carbon—generally from the air – and the return of this carbon back into the soil. In reality this happens continually in all sorts of ways. However, one of the most important methods is by in-soil photosynthesis.
    22. 22. <ul><li>About Prime Carbon </li></ul><ul><li>Prime Carbon Pty Ltd is an Australian company which exists to a make a real difference to our future by: </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Providing a simple and practical methodology which leads to improvements in sustainable land management practices . </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Linking Australian and International Green House Gas emitters with Landholders and Farmers who capture carbon . </li></ul>
    23. 23. About Prime Carbon We see ourselves as part of the process of Fostering Sustainable Development Business Network Clusters
    24. 24. <ul><li>About Prime Carbon </li></ul><ul><li>Prime Carbon undertakes two main activities. </li></ul><ul><li>We offer our “ Soil Enhancement and Carbon Sequestration” program to Landholders. </li></ul><ul><li>We Register and sell Australian Removal Units (ARMU) </li></ul>
    25. 25. About Prime Carbon “ Soil Enhancement and Carbon Sequestration” program This Program encourages practices which promote the process of in-soil photosynthesis. By following a contracted set of activities the landholder generates Carbon Credits called Removal Units for sale in the Voluntary Carbon Market.
    26. 26. In-Soil Photosynthesis Some Microbes photosynthesise using non-visible light There are products and processes which can be implemented to encourage this activity The results of this activity can be measured relatively easily Recycled organic matter and other recycled materials can be used to catalyse this reaction
    27. 27. What is a Removal Unit? A Removal Unit is a term used to assign a value to a metric tonne of greenhouse gas emissions removed from the air. Carbon credits including Removal Units are measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide, where 1 credit = 1 tonne of CO 2 equivalent . The Prime Carbon Program forecasts that soil carbon will increase by 1% over a 2 year term and by 2 % over five years. A 1% increase equates to the removal of 15 tonnes of Carbon from the atmosphere per hectare. This equates to 55 Removal Units (55 tonnes of CO2e) per hectare.
    28. 28. About the Program The Program has been fully operational since July, 2008. Our first sale of carbon credits within Australia was completed in September 2008 and we are currently negotiating our first international sales. Currently implementing sale of options for purchase of units over the next two years. Represents a program of collective social learning – everybody is learning how to do things better
    29. 29. Linking Landholders who can with people who want to do the right thing Voluntary engagement in the process of soil improvement has benefits for everyone. Units allow buyers of farm produce -- i.e. Food -- to support sustainable activity on ground Along the way this encourages recycling of organics and adoption of renewable energy processes.
    30. 30. Phosphorus Availability: A Key Benefit
    31. 31. <ul><li>What the Program requires Landholders to do </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce the use of chemical fertilizers by at least 30% </li></ul><ul><li>Use approved Bio-fertilizers and Inoculants (Bio-Catalysts) </li></ul><ul><li>Adopt minimum tillage practices </li></ul><ul><li>Allow independent measurement of changes in the allocated land to be undertaken and </li></ul><ul><li>Allow independent auditing of the process. </li></ul><ul><li>Importantly, there is no restriction on continuing to farm or use the allocated land during the agreement term </li></ul>
    32. 32. Obvious Benefits
    33. 33. Recycled Organics are Catalysts for Soil Improvement Products and Processes used must show benefits for increased ability to promote In-Soil photosynthesis This gives improved composts an added value Farmers are encouraged to look for such products This is a methodology for supported change.
    34. 34. <ul><li>Carbon Credits are not the most important benefit from increased soil carbon </li></ul><ul><li>Tremendous Social Benefits for farmers </li></ul><ul><li>Much greater water retention in soils resulting in reduced need for irrigation. </li></ul><ul><li>Improved water quality in river catchments due to reduced chemical fertilizer/nutrient run off </li></ul><ul><li>Cost savings and greater efficiencies in nutrient use </li></ul><ul><li>Improved buffers against disease outbreaks in plants </li></ul><ul><li>Improved sustainable land productivity </li></ul><ul><li>Most importantly soil carbon buffers against drought, heat stress and uncontrolled erosion which are key impacts of climate change </li></ul>
    35. 35. <ul><li>The Approved Products </li></ul><ul><li>Products from the following companies have been approved as at March 2009.  </li></ul><ul><li>Microsoil Pty Ltd </li></ul><ul><li>Soil Care Pty Ltd </li></ul><ul><li>VRM Pty Ltd </li></ul><ul><li>Ausmin Australia </li></ul><ul><li>Microfert Pty Ltd </li></ul><ul><li>Uamby Perennial Pasture program </li></ul><ul><li>Various Pasture Management Programs </li></ul><ul><li>Prime Carbon actively encourages applications from other providers of products and processes to be included as Approved Products. (Currently 30 companies have expressed interest or applied and are undergoing assessment) </li></ul>
    36. 36. <ul><li>Our Vision </li></ul><ul><li>By 2013 we will: </li></ul><ul><li>Convert approx 3 million Ha per annum to sustainable farming practices </li></ul><ul><li>Provide $1 billion per annum in funding to Australian Farmers </li></ul><ul><li>Provide substantial wholesale carbon credit units for trading at a National and International level </li></ul><ul><li>Be a focal point for on-going research into sustainable technologies </li></ul>
    37. 37. Summary The legacy emissions currently in the atmosphere must be addressed. Carbon Sequestration by improved IN SOIL PHOTOSYNTHESIS provides a simple and practical solution to addressing the legacy load of CO2 while we are about addressing the impacts of Climate Change already felt.
    38. 38. Summary Everybody is TALKING ABOUT IT.... ......the world wants food, carbon neutrality, protection from climate change, money security, etc etc etc ....
    39. 39. Summary We have a Solution: Pay Our Own Landholders and Improve our own Soil
    40. 40. The New Beginning

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