The science of plants: towards a green industry

One of the greatest challenges facing the industry and the economy is how to be sustainable. Due to climate change, it is now a pressing need that we move towards what has been dubbed the "post-oil" society: a society that prioritizes renewable energy and minimizes the use of contaminating plastics. A society that, moreover, has the challenge of feeding a growing population with little-to-no margin for expanding croplands.

Plants are the heart of all of these challenges. Science and new technology seeks to optimize the way energy and materials are obtained from them. Even improving crops to make them more efficient and higher yield. At the heart of each of these mechanisms lies what is called proteostasis, or the balance of proteins. As everything builds on top of this, understanding the basics of how it works will give us access to more and better tools.

To discuss and share the main news in all of these fields, national and international experts met on 27 and 28 September 2016 for the debate 'Plant Proteostasis. Towards a Green Based Industry’ organized by B·Debate ─an initiative of Biocat and the “la Caixa” Foundation to promote scientific debate─ along with the Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) and COST Proteostasis.



  1. Plants are the heart of many global challenges, including the need to feed a growing population and obtain renewable energy to fight climate change.

  2. Some of the applications scientists are working on include improving biomaterialsdeveloping more resistant, higher-yield crops, and modifying plants and processes to extract more power.

  3. Basic research is essential to these improvements. In this area, two terms seem to be key: proteostasis and autophagy (focus of the latest Nobel Laureate in medicine).

  4. One constant concern among scientists is how to make transfer from the laboratory to the "real world" faster and more effective.