Adam Zaretsky – Studiolab

[the next idea] 2010 Honorary mention

The Towards Biosolar Cells research program at Leiden University in the Netherlands combines natural and technological components to create solar collectors that supply fuel rather than electricity. Bioartists are collaborating in the development of these “artificial leaves”. Research begins with *Elysia chlorotica*, a wild species that is half plant, half snail. This sea slug eats chloroplasts from algae and becomes solar powered so it does not have to eat for long periods of time. Recently it was discovered that this snail has genetic information to repair the chloroplasts and keep them going; if the genes that allow the snail to maintain the functional integrity of the chloroplasts can be laterally transferred, it is possible the genes can be utilized for other organisms, ultimately for humans. This generates the possibility to produce solar-powered species for food and biofuel directly from the sun, reducing our ecological footprint.

BioArt artist Adam Zaretsky in collaboration with Prof. Huub de Groot (bio-solar cells) and Prof. Rob Zwijnenberg (Faculty of Humanities, Leiden)

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